Combustible Celluloid
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With: Gary Oldman, Chloe Webb, David Hayman, Debby Bishop, Andrew Schofield, Xander Berkeley, Perry Benson, Tony London, Sandy Baron, Sy Richardson, Edward Tudor-Pole, Biff Yeager, Courtney Love
Written by: Alex Cox, Abbe Wool
Directed by: Alex Cox
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 112
Date: 05/01/1986

Sid & Nancy (1986)

4 Stars (out of 4)

Love Kills

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Well before biopics became a yearly staple at the Oscars, Gary Oldman and Chloe Webb gave astonishing performances as British punk rocker Sid Vicious and his American girlfriend Nancy Spungen in this film by Alex Cox. Cox directs with an energy and abandon worthy of its subject, forgoing factoids in favor of moments (many fans and some of the band members expressed their outrage).

The film reaches its heights when the Sex Pistols perform (music provided here by an amalgamation of the Clash and the Pogues) and its lows when the hapless pair wither out on various drugs (you can feel their wooziness and despair). Amazingly, despite the downward spiral of these two lives, the film never loses its drive or passion; it never wallows in the misery.

To that end, it contains many quotable lines, and like Cox's Repo Man, has become a cult classic. A then-unknown Courtney Love auditioned for the role of Nancy, but won a smaller role instead.

In 2011, Fox released a Blu-Ray edition that crystallizes the movie's ferocity and raw sound. Extras include two short behind-the-scenes featurettes and a trailer.