10 out of 10
Release Date: 8th January 2010
Cast: Andy Serkis, Naomie Harris, Bill Milner, Olivia Williams, Tom Hughes, Toby Jones, Luke Evans, Michael Maloney, Ralph Ineson, Andrew Knott, Ross Boatman, Sam Spruell, Wesley Nelson, Charlotte Beaumont with Noel Clarke, Mackenzie Crook and Ray Winstone
Writer: Paul Virago
Trailer: SEX & DRUGS & ROCK-N-ROLL
TO BE PROOFREAD: Sex & Drugs & Rock-n-Roll could contain Andy Serkis‘ best ‘organic’ film performance to date. I use the term organic because Serkis has for a long time now cloaked his image in CGI and advanced motion capture technology performances to new realms, in fact it’s so rare that we see his real face, in fact at my reckoning it was his cameo in Dexter Fletcher’s Wild Bill. In Sex & Drugs & Rock-n-Roll he portrays music idol Ian Dury, who took the UK charts by storm with his unique brand of tricknology and word wizardry, along with the knack for a good melody. Ian Dury was also a polio survivor and unconvnetional envoy for his fellow ‘raspberry ripples’ – this film is a chronicle of the his life between the break-up of his first band Kilburn and The High Roads to the period where he released the controversial Spasticus Autisticus.
The film’s framing device is a strange live show with Serkis and actors performing cover versions of Blockheads tunes, along with candid anecdotes. These scenes are intercut throughout the movie’s more conventionally mounted stretches to great effect. This effective gimmick allows the story to dip in and out of events and blend seemlessly with recreated pop videos, drug fuelled fantasy sequences and mellow flashbacks. For once the effect isn’t distracting and presenting the movie like a scrapbook suits the films subject as it jumps from topic to mood like an eplictical frog. This works because of it’s believable and hardworking cast. From the performance of a life time given by Serkis to the smallest of cameos from famous faces like Noel Clarke (STAR TREK 2) and Mackenzie Crook (THE OFFICE), everybody scores a goal. The two suffering women in his life, Denise (NAOMIE HARRIS – THE FIRST GRADER) the new life partner and Bet (OLIVIA WILLIAMS – ALTAR) as wife and mother of his children, Baxter (BILL MILNER – SON OF RAMBOW) and Jemima (CHARLOTTE BEAUMONT) aren’t given short shrift as well. We get a window into their pain of living with a force of nature and at time, a very selfish person. Passages where the film moves back in time to Dury’s childhood are the films heart. These scenes feature Ray Winstone (THE GUNMAN) playing his father as a gentle giant of a man without the means to bring a child up by himself. There’s no mention of a mother – except for in a chat-up line he uses on Denise near the beginning. Sombre and very sad, they give moments of quiet and reflection in a otherwise chaotic movie. Bill Milner is great as Dury’s son and under-aged stooge, Baxter Front! He puts in a great performance of bewilderment, boredom and frustration and is more than a match for the towering Serkis.
True it’s an unconventional take on the musical ‘biopic’ but I think the director and the production team have completed a perfect job considering its subject. ian dury was an incredible public figure and a true original. This film is a great tribute to him, warts and all, delivered by an amazing cast. One of the best Britpics of the 2010s so far. Seek it out!
10 out of 10 – Hit me with your rhythm stick used to drive me mad as a kid. I loved it and used to shout it at the top of my voice whenever they came on TV. Hit MEEE!!!!
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?
- Andy Serkis: The Jungle Book – Origins (mo-cap), Star Wars – The Force Awakens (mo-cap), Avengers Assemble 2, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes (mo-cap), The Hobbit- An Unexpected Journey (mo-cap), The Desolation of Smaug (mo-cap), Wild Bill (2012), Brighton Rock (2011), The Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes (mo-cap), Tintin (2011)(mo-cap), Burke & Hare, Alex Rider-Stormbreaker, The Prestige, King Kong (2005)(mo-cap), 13 Going On 30, Lord Of The Rings – The Fellowship Of The Ring (mo-cap), The Two Towers (mo-cap), The Return Of The King (mo-cap), Deathwatch, 24 Hour Party People, Mojo, Stella Does Tricks, Career Girls
- Naomie Harris: Jungle Book – Origins (voice), Our Kind of Traitor, James Bond – Spectre, Southpaw, Mandela- A Long Walk To Freedom, James Bond – Skyfall, The First Grader, Morris – A Life With Bells, Pirates of The Caribbean 3, A Cock & Bull Story, Street Kings, Miami Vice Movie, Pirates of the Caribbean 2, After The Sunset, Trauma, 28 Days Later
- Bill Milner: Locke (voice), X-Men – First Class, Is Anybody There?, Son Of Rambow
- Olivia Williams: Man Up, The Haunting of Radcliffe House, The Seventh Son, Map of the Stars, Sabotage, Last Days On Mars, Now Is Good, Anna Karenina (2012), Wild Bill (2012), The Ghost, Hanna, An Education, X-Men III, To Kill A King, Below, The Heart Of Me, The Sixth Sense, Born Romantic, Rushmore, The Postman
- Tom Hughes: 8 Minutes Idle, I Am Soldier, About Time, Cemetery Junction
- Toby Jones: Alice In Wonderland 2 (voice), Dad’s Army, Serena, Hunger Games – Mockingjay 2, Marvellous, By The Gun, Muppets Most Wanted, Captain American 2, My Week With Marilyn, Snow White & The Huntsman, The Berberian Sound Studio, The Hunger Games, Red Lights, Tintin (voice),Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows- part 1 (voice), Captain America, Your Highness, The Rite, St Trinians 2, Nightwatching, Creation, W., Frost / Nixon, City Of Ember, St Trinians, The Mist, The Painted Veil, Infamous, Mrs Henderson Presents, Finding Neverland, Ladies In Lavender, Harry Potter & The Chambers Of Secrets, Simon Magus
- Luke Evans: SAS – Red Notice, Beauty and the Beast (2015), High-Rise, Flutter, The Hobbit- The Battle of Six Armies, Dracula Untold, The Hobbit – The Desolation Of Smaug, Fast And Furious 6, No One Lives, Ashes, The Raven, Immortals, The Three Musketeers (2011), Blitz, Tamara Drewe, Clash Of The Titans (2010)
- Michael Maloney: Luna, The C Word, Born of War, Summer in February, The Young Victoria, Notes On a Scandal, Babel, In The Bleak Midwinter, Hamlet (1996), Othello (1995), Truly Madly Deeply, Hamlet (1990), Henry V (1989)
- Ralph Ineson: The Witch, Kingsman – The Secret Service, The Selfish Giant, Cass, Shoot On Sight, Coronation St (TV), The Office (TV)
- Andrew Knott: Spike Island, In Our Name, The History Boys, Where The Heart Is (TV), Black Beauty (1994), The Secret Garden
- Ross Boatman: Essex Boys – Law of Survival, Hooligans At War, Hardmen, London’s Burning (TV)
- Sam Spruell: Good People, Legend (2015), Child 44, Sixteen, The Voices, Taken 3, Starred Up, The Counsellor, Snow White and the Huntsman, Defiance, The Hurt Locker, London To Brighton
- Noel Clarke: The Habit of Beauty, The Anomaly, I Am Soldier, Saving Santa (voice), Star Trek 2 (2013), The Knot, Storage 24, Fast Girls, Huge, Screwed (2011), Heartless, 4-3-2-1, Centurion, Sex & Drugs & Rock-N-Roll Doghouse, Adulthood, Kidulthood, Dr Who (TV), Auf Wierdesen Pet (TV )
- Mackenzie Crook: Muppets Most Wanted, In Secret, One Chance, Cheerful Weather For The Wedding, Tintin (voice), Ironclad, Solomon Kane, Three and Out, City Of Ember, Pirates Of The Caribbean 3, I Could Never Be Your Woman, I Want Candy, Pirates Of The Caribbean 2, The Brothers Grimm, Churchill- The Hollywood Years, Finding Neverland, Sex Lives Of The Potato Men, Pirates Of The Caribbean, The Ofiice (TV)
- Ray Winstone: Point Break (2015), The Legend of Barney Thompson, The Gunman, Noah, Lords of London, The Hot Potato, The Sweeney Movie, Snow White & The Huntsman, Elfie Hopkins, Fathers Of Girls, Hugo, London Boulevard, The Devil’s Tomb, Rango (voice), Tracker, 44 Inch Chest, Edge Of Darkness, Indiana Jones & The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skulls, Fool’s Gold, Breaking and Entering, The Departed, Cold Mountain, Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion The Witch & The Wardrobe (voice), The Proposition, King Arthur (2004), Ripley’s Game, The Martins, Last Orders, Sexy Beast, There’s Only One Jimmy Grimble, Nil By Mouth, Love Honour and Obey, Fanny and Elvis, Final Cut, Martha – Meet Daniel Luke and Laurence, Face, Ladybird Ladybird, Tank Malling, Quadrophenia, Scum, Robin Of Sherwood (TV)