Andy Serkis is fast becoming a jack of all trades. Known for playing the part of Gollum in the Lord Of The Rings movies, he has gradually moved on from that particular success being the only thing he is known for. He has had many parts since then, and when I heard he was playing the punk legend that was Ian Dury in a biopic, I was pretty excited. I like a lot of his music and although he wasn’t much of a singer there was something strangely likeable about The Blockheads style.
Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll tells the story of how this man who suffered from polio as a child overcame his disability to become one of the foremost punk/funk/pop starts of the late 70s and early 80s. There are many other names that we all know in this movie, some only for a short time on screen such as Mackenzie Crook as one of Dury’s early band mates. The film also looks at the strange relationship he had with his wife Betty (Olivia Williams) who appeared accepting of his love for Denise, played here by Pirates Of The Caribbean star Naomie Harris. Ian’s son Baxter (Bill Milner) features heavily in the movie and we see how his father’s influence grows as he gets older, whether it be good or bad. Ray Winstone makes a brief appearance as Ian Dury’s father to add a big name into the mix.
This movie is well filmed with parts of the story like a stage show performance by Dury telling his own story while others act around him, the rest is like a regular movie. The story is good, although I felt that it jumped a lot and you don’t really see him hitting the big time and being the successful star that he was. The focus seemed to be on his relationships with other people rather than the career. Its an interesting viewpoint to take, but I think a career story would have been a little more appealing to filmgoers.
All in all, it wasn’t quite what I had expected and I finished the movie feeling a little short changed in terms of plot and historical fact, but Serkis’ performance is top rate and the music in the film is reproduced by The Blockheads themselves. Musically its a great movie, and the actors are really good, but I expected more and therefore it doesn’t get as good a mark as it could have had. 6/10 from me. If you are a big Ian Dury fan then this British film will definitely be up your street, otherwise, you wouldn’t be shot if you didn’t fancy it at any point soon. Check out the trailer and decide for yourself.