Review: Sid & Nancy (Blu-ray)

MGM brings Alex Cox's class punk rock love story Sid and Nancy to Blu-ray!

  • Director: Alex Cox
  • Starring: Gary Oldman, Chloe Webb
  • Year: 1986
  • Runtime: 84 Minutes
  • Company: MGM
  • Format: Blu-ray
  • Discs: 1
  • Video: 1.85:1 - 16:9 - 1080p - MPEG4 AVC
  • Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Region: A
  • Released: 12/27/2011

I've always subconsciously avoided this film due to it's subject matter. Simply put, I know zilch about The Sex Pistols and punk music in general. The pro-anarchy UK band's craze was well before my time and some misguided thinking left me feeling I'd be alienated upon viewing a feature length biopic. I've never intentionally turned down watching Sid & Nancy, the opportunity just never arose where I had to make the decision of rectifying my status of never seeing it. With this brand new Blu-ray release, I finally acquainted myself with Sid Vicious, Nancy Spungen and their tumultuous, destructive and ever loving relationship.
The film begins smack in the middle of the beginnings of Sex Pistols pandemonium. Sid Vicious (Gary Oldman) is already a punk icon for his outrageous showmanship and hardcore onstage charisma in the UK. After being pestered by her at underground shows, Vicious witnesses an altercation at a pub involving Nancy Spungen (Chloe Webb), a drug addicted groupie from America. Their relationship is almost instant as both are smitten by each other and become a couple quickly, much to the vocal chagrin of the band. Sid and Nancy's relationship is solely based on sex, drugs booze. Both indulge in copious amounts of drugs which spirals out of control leading to much more substance abuse and eventually their deaths.
Director Alex Cox (Repo Man) flawlessly manages to create a biopic centered around one of the most influential and notorious punk bands while still retaining a potent, central story based around the titular couple. Said couple is played to utmost perfection by Gary Oldman and Chloe Webb. Both actors don't just act, they embody Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen. I now know why Oldman is so highly regarded as a character actor. His portrayal as punks icon is uncanny and undoubtedly career defining. Webb nails Nancy Spungen's whiny, destructive characteristics with jaw dropping ease. The talent in front and behind the camera went to extreme ends to create a definitive look at one of musics most self destructive relationship. They certainly accomplished that.
Looking beyond the film as a biopic, it's most definitely a love story. A defining scene sees Sid and Nancy kissing by a garbage dumpster as heaps of trash fall from the sky in slow motion. It's almost dream like, a pivotal "fuck you world" attitude scene and adds to the depth of their love. Destructive and abusive, but love nonetheless. Sid & Nancy are the Romeo & Juliet of the 70's punk counter culture. This film encapsulates that time period immaculately and equally recreates a misunderstood, tragic relationship.

  • Video
MGM gives Sid & Nancy it's HD debut with an MPEG-4 AVC transfer that looks quite nice. The UK underground punk setting is host to a variety of colors and detail that are given a great boost of clarity thanks to 1080p. The gritty, dreary look that accompanies Sid and Nancy's lives is recreated wonderfully for this disc, offering a filmic view at that era's locales. Film grain is present all throughout, adding a vibe itself to the films melancholy feel. Overall, MGM does a fine job transferring this to Blu-ray without any digital hiccups.
  • Audio
The 5.1 mix, just like punk bands of yesteryear, is very rambunctious. Loud, mean and full of bass shooting out the sub woofer. While not a multi channel efficient track, when the music starts blasting you won't even notice. At times, you definitely feel like you're in one of the on screen gigs sitting by the stage being pummeled by the vicious audio. No audio problems here.

Bonus Features
  • Featurette - "For The Love Of Punk"
  • Featurette - "Junk Love"
  • Theatrical Trailer