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Featured Blu-ray Review: Sid and Nancy

January 20th, 2012

Sid and Nancy - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon

Sid and Nancy first came out in 1986, less than a decade after the deaths of Nancy Spungen and Sid Vicious. When it first came out, it earned great reviews, but never found an audience in theaters. Now that it is making its Blu-ray debut, a Collector's Edition no less, will it find a more receptive audience? Or has too much time past, thus blunting its effectiveness.

The Movie

The film begins in New York City at the Chelsea Hotel where Sid Vicious sits on a hotel bed while being questioned by the cops. A body is being carried out. He's unresponsive, so they bring him downtown and start again. This time they ask him who the victim was and where he met her.

We then flash back to happier times with Sid Vicious and Johnny Rotten going to their friend's place, Linda. It is here that Sid meets Nancy for the first time. She's what most people would refer to as a groupie and a junkie. They meet again shortly after and Nancy agrees to buy drugs for Sid. It's the beginning of... well, not a beautiful relationship, but it's something.

For the next hour or so, we see these two in a relationship, as they fall deeper into the grips of drugs. It gets so bad that Sid Vicious is thrown out of The Sex Pistols and the band breaks up. Sid and Nancy stick it out and stay together. Nancy even becomes Sid's manager and gets him regular gigs in New York's club scene. But given what we saw at the beginning of the movie, we know their relationship won't end well.

While watching this movie, I was reminded of Raging Bull. Both movies are masterfully done, but I had trouble getting emotionally involved in the films, because I found none of the characters in the least bit sympathetic. With Sid and Nancy, there were bits and pieces that suggested Sid and Nancy did love each other, as dysfunctional as that love may have been. But for the most part you are watching two people destroy themselves while fighting and arguing. The performances of the two leads are excellent. They make you want to watch these two despite how atrocious they are. I don't know if you would want to spend more than two hours with them.

The Extras

There are only two extras on the Blu-ray. The first is a 16-minute featurette called For the Love of Punk, which deals with the making of the movie, but it doesn't feature anyone from the movie. Junk Love spends the same amount of time on the real-life Sid and Nancy, their time before they met, and their relationship together. For a Collector's Edition, that's not a lot of extras.

The film was made in 1985 on a budget of $4 million, so it should come as no real shock that there are some scenes that are pretty rough. Some of this roughness is due to asthetic choices made by Alex Cox, the director, but other times its due to budget and age. That said, the film is still a huge step up from the previous release and there are many scenes that shine. The audio is solid, but not spectacular. It would have been nice to have more activity in the surround sound speakers and the base, but at least it is clear.

The Blu-ray does cost $18, which is acceptable for this type of release. It's not shovelware, but there are not a ton of extras either, so it is hard to get too excited about the price.

The Verdict

Sid and Nancy's Blu-ray debut doesn't live up to the Collector's Edition label, but if you like the movie, the two featurettes, plus the video and audio upgrade, are likely worth the price.

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