A drama about the Sex Pistols was supposed to be a riot. still pistol (Disney+) is so lacking in anarchic spirit that it might as well be a Coldplay biopic.
What went wrong here? Danny Boyle is the director who brought us Trainspotting, an energetic film. The studio has to be to blame because, odd as it may sound for a show with sex, drugs and a lot of swear words, the end product feels Disney-worthy.
It’s a conventional retelling that ticks all the stops in the Sex Pistols story: first meeting Malcolm McLaren, first appearance, the infamous interview with Bill Grundy, the anniversary boat trip. The script is based on guitarist Steve Jones’ memoir, but the sanitized tone makes the lines of dialogue sound like they’re taken from a CBBC show, even though that’s really what happened. Experience the origin story of Sid Vicious, also known as John Ritchie:
Johnny Rotten: We call you Sid after the hamster.
Ritchie playing with the hamster and getting his finger pinched: “Ow. Sid is really vicious…”
The casting is hit-and-miss, the biggest failure being baby-faced Thomas Brodie-Sangster (forever the annoying kid from Love Actually) as McLaren. The character is insufferable, but it’s hard to tell if that’s on purpose or because of Brodie-Sangster’s hammy performance.
Jones is central to the story and we are often transported back to his traumatic childhood through an abusive stepfather. Toby Wallace does a remarkable job in the role, especially with the accent (he’s Australian, but you’d never know). Like the other band members, Anson Boon livens things up as Rotten, and Louis Partridge introduces us to a sweet and not particularly bright Vicious before Nancy Spungen’s nightmare. Talulah Riley plays Vivienne Westwood between Bubble from Absolutely Fabulous and Mrs Hall from All Creatures Great and Small.
As a visual accompaniment to a Wikipedia entry, it’s passable. But the storytelling is so superficial that the episode of Sid and Nancy – which was meant to be a punch in the gut – hardly registers. The most compelling character isn’t from the band, but Chrissie Hynde (Sydney Chandler); The strongest performance comes from Bianca Stephens as a footnote in the band’s story, a troubled young woman who inspired the track Bodies.
The editing is mind-blowing, constantly throwing archival footage into the mix. It feels made for US viewers who need a paint-by-numbers guide to being British. John Lydon was right in denying involvement in this major Disney hoax.
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/tv/2022/05/31/anarchy-danny-boyles-sex-pistols-biopic-has-disney-fied/ Where’s the anarchy? Danny Boyle’s Sex Pistols biopic has been Disney-fied