Written by: Michael Den Boer on August 9th, 2016
BluRay released: August 29th, 2016
Approximate running time: 113 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: 18 (UK)
Sound: DTS-HD Stereo English
Subtitles: English SDH
BluRay Release: Studiocanal
Region Coding: Region B
Retail Price: £21.88 (UK)
Synopsis: Sid’s rise to fame as the bass player of The Sex Pistols. His tumultuous relationship with Nancy an American Groupie / heroin addict. The eventual demise of Sex Pistols, an ill-fated attempt at a solo career and two star crossed lovers’ untimely deaths.
Sid and Nancy was co-written and directed by Alex Cox whose other notable films include, Repo Man, Straight to Hell and Walker. Key collaborators on Sid and Nancy include, cinematographer Roger Deakins (Fargo, No Country for Old Men) and screenwriter Abbe Wool (Roadside Prophets). Sid and Nancy was originally started under the alternate title Love Kills.
Cinema like life often walks a very fine line of what is reality and what have been conceived from imagination. And nowhere is this more evident than when it comes to cinema that is based on an individual’s life. Fortunately, there is a lot more then events which define who we are and in the best bio pictures are the ones that ultimately capture the essence of their subject matter. Case in point Alex Cox’s Sid and Nancy!
First and foremost, to this film’s credit it focuses more on Sid’s life outside of The Sex Pistols and more importantly with his relationship with Nancy. The well-constructed narrative follows the rise, followed by the deterioration and culminates with the self-destruction of its two main characters Sid and Nancy. And when it comes to back-story this film relies on the legend that has evolved since Sid’s death to do the heavy lifting. Also though the primary focus is on Sid and Nancy and their love affair. The film does spend an ample amount of time exploring his time in The Sex Pistols and many of their songs are featured throughout the film.
From a production stand point this film does not miss a beat. The film is wonderfully paced and key moments are given just the right amount of time to resonate. Another strength of this film is Roger Deakin’s rock solid cinematography which enhances the story hand. And no moment shines brighter than the scene where Sid sings My Way. Also besides the aforementioned use of The Sex Pistols music. This film’s soundtrack is rounded out by songs by The Clashes Joe Strummer, The Pogues and Dan Wool.
Without a doubt this film strongest assets are its two leads, Gary Oldman (Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Léon) in the role of Sid Vicious and Chloe Webb in the role of Nancy Spungen. Both actors fully immerse themselves in the characters they are portraying and they also have a tremendous amount of chemistry. Other notable performance includes Andrew Schofield in the role of Johnny Rotten and Courtney Love in a brief albeit noticeable cameo.
Sid and Nancy comes on a 50 GB dual layer (32.8 GB) BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. For this release a brand new transfer has been created and with color correction approved by cinematographer Roger Deakins. The source used for this transfer is in great shape, the image looks crisp, black and contrast levels look strong throughout and flesh tones look accurate. Also grain looks natural and there are no issues with DNR or compression. And when compared to previous releases home video releases, this new transfer is an improvement in every way.
This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD stereo mix in English and removable English SDH subtitles have also been included. The audio sounds, clean, clear, balanced and robust when it needs too. Range wise the musical oriented moments have just the right amount of oomph and when it comes to the more ambient aspects of the soundtrack they are well represented.
Extras for this release include, interviews with screenwriter / director Alex Cox (23 minutes 2 seconds) cinematographer Roger Deakins (9 minutes 6 seconds) and interview with Don Letts a filmmaker, DJ and presenter of ‘Punk on Film’ at the BFI: Soundbank (9 minutes 47 seconds).
Topics discussed in the interview with Alex Cox include, what he had done as a filmmaker before making Sid and Nancy, why he decided to write a screenplay about Sid and Nancy, the Punk Rock movement in the UK and USA, Glenn Matlock and John Lyndon’s involvement in the making of this film, the film’s soundtrack and Joe Strummer’s involvement, the cast, cinematographer Roger Deakins, critical reaction to the film and his thoughts about how the film turned out.
Topics discussed in the interview with Roger Deakins include, what he had done so far as a cinematographer before Sid and Nancy, the look of the film, collaborating with Alex Cox and Abbe Wool, key moments visuals, Gary Oldman, Chloe Webb and their performances and his thoughts about the film.
Topics discussed in the interview with Don Letts include, the rise and decline of the British music scene, how the internet how greatly contributed to the decline of modern music, The Sex Pistols, Reggae, Sid Vicious & Nancy Spungen and Punk Rock’s lasting legacy.
Overall Sid and Nancy gets a first rate release from StudioCanal, highly recommended.
Note: This film is also being released by Studiocanal on DVD.