Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll (15)
Friday 08 January 2010
Ian Dury, who died 10 years ago, is here awarded the rock-biopic treatment, though whether it burnishes his legend or bruises it must be in doubt.
Andy Serkis, halfway between a Dickensian satyr and a superannuated Teddy boy, bares a strong likeness to Dury and fairly tears into the role, capturing his verbal dexterity, his manic stage presence and his enduring ability to rub people up the wrong way. "Never let it be said that my failure went to my head," he quips with paradoxical wit.
Paul Viragh, the screenwriter, shuffles flashbacks into the story of his rise to fame, and inevitably sees the musician's disability – he was crippled with polio and institutionalised from childhood – as a determining factor of his life: while he avoided self-pity, he seemed to regard his condition as a free pass to behave like a boor and a yob. Those closest to him suffered, principally Olivia Williams as his wife, Naomie Harris as his girlfriend, and Bill Milner as his son.
Honourably, the director Mat Whitecross tries to shake up the biopic routines by intercutting animation with concert performance (Serkis does a very convincing impersonation of Dury's voice and manner), and even conjures the engaging spectacle of The Blockheads doing "Hit Me with Your Rhythm Stick" underwater. Yet what the film tries to project as Dury's loveable irascibility too often just looks like charmlessness; given that the portrait was sanctioned by his son Baxter, you suspect that the rock-star bad behaviour might have been even worse than it's depicted here. It's been made with love and respect, though in the long run it may not do much to enhance its subject's reputation.
Game of Thrones
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Hair loss explained: How and why men go bald
- 2 Game of Thrones season 6: Jon Snow theorists believe the Stark may have a twin sister
- 3 Artist takes LSD, draws herself over different stages of the 9-hour trip to show its effects
- 4 A pint of water every day is the key to losing weight, scientists say
- 5 Russia 'accidentally reveals' number of its soldiers killed in eastern Ukraine
Game of Thrones season 6: Jon Snow theorists believe the Stark may have a twin sister
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France train shooting: US soldiers speak of the moment they stopped gunman and 'beat him until he was unconscious'
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith calls for urgent ESA overhaul as part of drive to cut down welfare costs