LFF Review: Bad Reputation

Whilst it’s only now that women are starting to become widely respected as ‘rock’ musicians, imagine how bad it was forty years ago? Even today, is not out of the ordinary for female band members to receive derogatory comments about playing their instrument or asked questions which men would never be expected to answer. So, when Joan Jett co-founded (with Sandy West) The Runaways in 1975, the male dominated world of music journalism didn’t quite know what to do.

After being bought her first guitar at the age of 14, Joan Jett knew what she wanted to be but it wasn’t the folk musician her guitar instructed had in mind. Two years later The Runaways were born. After initial friction, they settled as a five-piece with Cherie Currie on lead vocals. After a whirlwind of ups and down, four studio albums and various personnel changes, they split-up less than 4 years later. It was only when Jett teamed up with former ‘bubblegum’ producer Kenny Laguna, who became her best friend, that she really came into her own. Bad Reputation tells her story.

Bad Reputation embodies the energy and zest which Jett injects into her music. Kevin Kerslake’s film verily flies-by, propelled by some inspired editing from writer/editor Joel Marcus. He stitches the interviews together to create a veritable collage behind the narration. There are fascinating insights from the likes of Iggy Pop, Miley Cyrus, Michael J Fox and Kristen Stewart, along with those in and around the band. Bad Reputation is a top-notch music documentary which gets to the heart of what really makes Jett tick whilst placing her career within a wider social context.

The UK premiere of Bad Reputation takes place at London Film Festival on 13 October. The film opens in cinemas across the UK on 26 October.

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