Sid & Nancy review

When you think of Sid and Nancy the first thing that probably comes to mind is punk rock's Romeo and Juliet, right? Not if Alex Cox has anything to do with it. Sid & Nancy could have quite easily have been a straightforward romantic tale of two young punks falling in love and going out in a blaze of glory, but it's more than that.

The story begins with Sid, played by Gary Oldman, being questioned by the NYPD about Nancy's murder and straight from that opening scene I was captivated. We then go back a couple of years to show how the ill-fated lovers meet.

Set in the late seventies, and at the height of the British punk era, Alex Cox takes us on a journey with one of the most fascinating couples in music history, a British bassist from a famous punk band and an American groupie from the Philadelphia suburbs. We follow their turbulent relationship from the peak of Sid's career to the break up of the Sex Pistols on the infamous American tour, which eventually sees the couple's heroin addiction spiraling out of control and ending with them living in squalor at New York's Chelsea Hotel.

Gary Oldman is exceptional throughout the film, and lets face it playing Sid Vicious is no easy task. He clambers around in black drainpipes, motorcycle boots and Sid's very own padlock and chain, loaned to him by Sid's mother, Anne Beverley; portraying his vulnerability perfectly. His performance of 'My Way' is also flawless, capturing both his fun side and the anarchist that we all know and love.

Chloe Webb gives a solid performance as 'Nauseating Nancy' but unfortunately she didn't quite hit the spot for me. In my opinion the role would have benefited from a younger actress, like Courtney Love who also appears in the film but as fictional character, Gretchen, rather than Nancy. Personally I think this was a bit of a faux pas, Courtney would have made a much more believable Nancy. Having said that, there is obvious chemistry between the onscreen couple and overall I think Chloe captures Nancy's character, as the media would have us believe, really well.

The ending is very much left to interpretation and although there are obvious differences between what we see in the film and what we now know to be true, it does give you a snippet of the highs and lows of their short lives together and its inevitable downward spiral.

Sid & Nancy isn't based on actuality, so if you want cold hard facts about Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen then this isn't the film for you. However, if you are willing to take it for what it is then sit down and strap yourself in for a bumpy ride!

Clair Hart (22/4/12)