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The Filth and the Fury

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: The Filth and the Fury

Starring: Johnny Rotten, Sid Vicious
Director: Julien Temple
Rated: NR
RunTime: 105 Minutes
Release Date: January 2000
Genres: Music, Documentary

*Also starring: Steve Jones, Malcolm McLaren

Review by Susan Granger
3½ stars out of 4

In this documentary, music-video pioneer Julien Temple attempts to set the record straight about the rise and fall of The Sex Pistols, the world's most notorious punk-pop band. And obviously it's intended to augment Temple's earlier documentary, "The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle" (1980), which told how the Pistols were marketed by their egomaniacal manager, huckster Malcolm McLaren. Unlike their more famous British predecessors, the Beatles and the Stones, The Sex Pistols didn't spring from any musical tradition. In fact, they admittedly didn't know much about music at all, preferring to slam stuff against their guitars and drums. And it was this obvious assault that first appealed to frustrated fans in the '70s who also had no obvious means of expression. England at that time was in the midst of great social upheaval, suffering from a stagnant economy, unemployment, and race riots. Against this backdrop of social strife, the rise of punk anarchy and the impact of the Pistols seems understandable, even though they recorded only one album: "Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols" (1977). Julien Temple reveals the men behind the infamy, interweaving BBC news briefs, cartoons, commercials - even an interview with Sid Vicious before he died in 1978. One of the most memorable clips shows Johnny Rotten snarling, "There is no future in England's dreaming. Don't be told what you want. Don't be told what you need!" And there's narration by the four remaining band members: vocalist John Lydon (a.k.a. Johnny Rotten), guitarist Steve Jones, drummer Paul Cook, and bassist Glen Matlock. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "The Filth and the Fury" is an insightful 8. Filled with ferocious, primal power, it's one of the best rock & roll documentaries.

Copyright 2000 Susan Granger

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