Sid & Nancy (1986) (Blu-ray Review)
Directed By: Alex Cox
Starring: Gary Oldman, Chloe Webb, David Hayman
Rated: R/Region A/1:85/1080p/Number of Discs 1
Available from The Criterion Collection
With the lacerating love story Sid & Nancy, Alex Cox reimagines the crash-and-burn affair between punk’s most notorious self-destructive poster children: Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious and his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen—brought to visceral life by brilliant performances from Gary Oldman and Chloe Webb. Cox turns his anarchic filmmaking style on the explosive energy of the London punk scene and the degenerate streets of seventies New York, making for an eviscerating depiction of excess and addiction. Through the lens of cinematographer Roger Deakins, the imagery goes from swooning to grimy, and the film’s bleakness is balanced with surreal humor and genuine tenderness, making for an affecting, music-fueled vision of doomed love.
The whole story about The Sex Pistols Sid Vicious and his girlfriend Nancy is one that everyone seems to know of. Even if you don’t know all the details you’ve at least heard of it. The snake-bitten love story between these two is one that comes with a whole host of urban legends and theories. The classic film that documents this relationship, Sid & Nacy, is here on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and is one I’d recommend not only for fans of punk rock but fans of any kind of film in general. It is a character study with two very strung out and weird characters as the focus. Regardless if fellow Sex Pistol member Johnny Rotten approved of what the content was or not, the movie we have before us here is one that I found extremely interesting, at times humorous, but also at times a bit frightening. As is, this is a movie that could be taken as a guide of what not to do in relationships or life in general.
This dark and gloomy film is given a beautiful look, however, in this new Blu-ray from Criterion. The quality of a film in HD is usually a given when dealing with the fine folks of Criterion and this one keeps that feeling alive. If you’ve seen this film before, I still suggest going out and seeing it again with this lovely transfer is comes with. The movie has a great look and setting that might have been missed by most who had watched it until this release. Gary Oldman is a national treasure and this movie only does more to prove that fact. You also can’t forget to mention Chloe Webb either, who does more than her share in the role of Nancy. This one also comes with some very nice extras that I will list below.
– New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed stereo soundtrack on the Blu-ray
– Alternate 5.1 surround soundtrack, presented in DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray
– Two audio commentaries: one from 1994 featuring co-writer Abbe Wool, actors Gary Oldman and Chloe Webb, cultural historian Greil Marcus, filmmakers Julien Temple and Lech Kowalski, and musician Eliot Kidd; the other from 2001 featuring co-writer-director Alex Cox and actor Andrew Schofield
– England’s Glory, a 1987 documentary on the making of Sid & Nancy
– Infamous 1976 Bill Grundy interview with the Sex Pistols on British television
– Rare telephone interview from 1978 with Sid Vicious
– Interviews with Vicious and Nancy Spungen from the 1980 documentary D.O.A.: A Right of Passage
– Archival interviews and footage
– PLUS: An essay by author Jon Savage and a 1986 piece compiled by Cox about Vicious, Spungen, and the making of the film
Quality of Transfer: 100%