sex & drugs & rock & roll is a beautiful mess of a movie. It’s a fantastic example of ordered chaos, a semi-linear production taking us through the life & career of Ian Dury, played masterfully by Andy Serkis. I don’t know what the American distribution for it is like, but any award-season buzz they can generate for him is well-fucking-deserved.
The supporting cast was fabulous: Olivia Williams as Dury’s astonishingly understanding wife, perfection as usual, Mackenzie Crook with possibly the most amazing hair I have ever seen on film, and great child actors Bill Milner as Dury’s son Baxter and Wesley Nelson as young Ian.
Plus, there were a few supporting roles that lit up my inner fangirl: Doctor Who’s Noel Clarke as producer Desmond, also from Who (& with not nearly enough screentime!) Arthur Darvill as keyboardist & songwriter Mick Gallagher, and last but not least, The History Boys‘ Andrew Knott as a reporter.
The film evoked Fosse for me. I’m sure that was unintentional, but whatever, kids, it’s my blog. It’s built around a stage performance, with Dury as the ringmaster-slash-emcee telling the story of his life. Visually it was very Cabaret — black hat, white make-up, sheer decadence, while emotionally it had more in common with All That Jazz, the challenges of a creative life versus health & family, and the contrast between real life and the world of the storyteller.
On the way out someone said that they thought all films should be 90 minutes long, but I could have stayed inside this one for quite a bit longer.