Punk was one of the most memorable and most distinctive musical movements on the Twentieth Century. Much more than merely a musical genre, it was, and still is, a way of life for many. The punk scene has been successfully immortalised in documentaries such as The Decline of Western Civilisation, Another State of Mind and Punk’s Not Dead. Attempts at fictional depictions have been less successful, but Alex Cox’s colourful portrait of two of the most notorious characters, Sid And Nancy, is one of the best.
After quitting college, Nancy Spungen (Chloe Webb) moves to London and hangs out with Sid Vicious (Gary Oldman) and Johnny Rotten (Andrew Schofield) of the Sex Pistols. Sid and Nancy start an affair but their relationship is turbulent and often violent, fuelled by the their spiralling drug abuse. After the group disband, the pair move to New York where they live in the Chelsea Hotel. Their relationship becomes increasingly fractious as Sid tries to quit drugs and leave her.
Punk spawned a raft of fascinating personalities but the story of Sid and Nancy is probably the most iconic. Oldman is a revelation and this is arguably the role which announced him as the most exciting new British actor at the time. As a whole, it’s a bit disjointed and Schofield’s portrayal of Rotten is beyond the pale. However, both Oldman and Webb ensure that you can’t tear yourself away from the screen.
Sid and Nancy is in cinemas on Friday and released on Blu-ray and DVD on 29 August.