Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 30 August 2015

DVD: Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll (15)

Reviewed by Ben Walsh

Published 21/05/2010

"Our worst gig since Sidcup crematorium," is how Andy Serkis's Ian Dury attempts to warm up a particularly patchy crowd.

Mat Whitecross's vigorous biopic is laced with the punk-rocker's cruel wit and it often makes uncomfortable viewing; in fact, this hard-nosed drama comes across like one of those BBC4 hatchet jobs on iconic Brits (Kenneth Williams etc). It traces Dury's life from his brutal childhood, he contacted polio at 10 and was endlessly bullied at school, to his messy rise to prominence and his equally messy relationships with his wife (Olivia Williams), his neglected son (Bill Milner) and his mistress (Naomi Harris). All the performances are committed, particularly Serkis's, many of Whitecross's images are arresting and there are some great songs ("Hit Me with Your Rhythm Stick"), but this is not an uplifting experience. A tad grim, in fact.



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