In one of his earliest roles, Oldman is the definition of intense. As iconic punk legend Sid Vicious, the actor is always “on,” whether he’s performing onstage or struggling as a junkie. The actor doesn’t just look the part (having lost a crazy amount of weight) or seem at home playing bass (not that Vicious himself was an amazing musician), but gets completely lost in the showy, ostentatious role. It’s the kind of manic, memorable performance that careers are launched on and rightfully so.
As good as Oldman is, the movie isn’t a Vicious biopic. The relationship between Sid and Nancy, while messed up, is portrayed as authentic and honestly kind of sweet. It chronicles their love without pulling any punches or shying away from the hard stuff, from the moment he first smashes his head on a brick wall for her to their depressing downward spiral in to heroin addiction. (Don’t worry; there are also some lighter parts, like the fantastic dinner at Nancy’s grandmother’s house.) It transcends the typical groupie-rock star story, and as destructive as they are for each other, the film shows how much they need each other too. Chloe Webb is a fine actress, especially when it comes to the addiction scenes, but her portrayal of Nancy is annoying and kind of grating to watch. She’s not able to portray the character’s relatability, which is where she is far outshone by Oldman.
SID AND NANCY also acts as a great snapshot of London in the late 70s and the anarchic spirit of the punk rock scene. (Love the little school girls smashing cars and the baby with the mohawk.) Director Alex Cox (REPO MAN) presents the movie with an energy and grittiness that draws you in and doesn’t hold back on all the drugs, sex and fun. The film’s pacing does noticeably lose steam towards the end as the pair descends in to their eventual addiction and depression. The other noticeable thing is the lack of actual Sex Pistols songs in the movie. You do get some music by Joe Strummer from The Clash, The Pogues and Circle Jerks, but it’s still not the same.
Junk Love (15:30): The same people from the previous extra talk about the real life story and biography of the title characters. It’s a bit too similar to the only other special feature on the disc and tends to covers the same topics.
Extra Tidbit: Johnny Rotten is incredibly critical of SID AND NANCY and its portrayal of Vicious. Asked if the movie got anything right, Rotten is quoted as saying, "Maybe the name Sid."