Sid and Nancy Blu-ray Review

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30th Anniversary of doing it his way.

by Casimir Harlow Aug 28, 2016 at 5:51 PM

  • Movies review

    Sid and Nancy Blu-ray Review
    SRP: £14.99

    Film Review

    Perfectly capturing the punk scene and all its equal parts rebellious and seedy trappings, indie director Alex Cox's anti-establishment exploration of the brief but electric life of The Sex Pistols' Sid Vicious features a defining performance from a young Gary Oldman.

    Often unable to perform - whether because he broke his equipment or took too many drugs - Vicious barely contributed to the recorded output of The Sex Pistols, failing to produce much material at all in his short life. And yet he was such a memorable performer, such a wild unpredictable animal - unable to be tamed - that his brief and minimal contribution remains a landmark chapter in the era of old school punk. So much has changed since that looking back on Vicious seems almost like a look back to Neanderthal times. He was a nasty, dirty, menace but his attitude was indicative of the desperate era - he was a product of a lost generation struggling to find its feet as the world crumbled around them. And, to some, his rage against the machine antics - whether or not they were even meant to be that way - inspired and provided a light at the end of the tunnel.
    Cox's narrative picks up with Vicious at an all-time low, at the end of his time, his light having burnt twice as bright, so very close to now going out. It then flashes back to the time when everything changed; when this wayward youth met his match in the selfish, destructive, equally untamed wayward junkie Nancy, a groupie from the States who became inseparable from Vicious - a partner in life and, unfortunately, a partner in a path to death. Gary Oldman may have since become known for his larger-than-life performances, but he simply becomes Vicious here, and is strangely matched by the unusual performance of Chloe Webb, who manages to make Nancy's sorry parasite into a vaguely pitiable individual. Whilst those unaware of punk may not get on board with this product of its times, Sid & Nancy is still memorable for Oldman alone.

    Picture Quality

    Sid and Nancy Picture Quality
    Sid & Nancy reaches its 30th Anniversary and gets a brand spanking new video restoration - and colour correction - supervised by the original cinematographer, the now-legendary Roger Deakins. The results, albeit within the constraints of the budget, period and style of the punk piece, are that the cult classic movie looks better than it ever has before.

    The Roger Deakins-supervised video restoration looks impressive, despite the limitations of the source material

    The 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition video presentation, framed in the movie's original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 widescreen, rarely benefits from a truly impressive 'demo' moment (although'My Way' sequence comes close), but still boasts some striking detail and fine texturing bringing the urban 70s-esque environments of London and New York (the latter represented by Jersey City) to life with all the seedy squalor and dilapidation of the era. Apartments, wallpaper, carpets and backroom gigs spring to life, with little in the way of digital defects or drops in clarity. A fine layer of suitably filmic grain remains and only suits the piece. Black levels are strong and allow for some decent shadow detail and colours, again within the confines of the period stylisation, are natural and benefit significantly from Deakins' colour correction on this restoration. Overall, it's far better than this film has ever looked before and whilst it arguably does not stand up alongside modern blockbusters, and has some weaker sequences - the ride through the desert fluctuates somewhat, and the airplane scene is hazy, it remains a largely impressive piece of restoration work.

    Sound Quality

    Sid and Nancy Sound Quality
    Ostensibly a step back from the 'remixed' DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track on previous editions, we get a more authentic LPCM 2.0 offering

    It captures the dialogue, effects and - most importantly - the musical performances accurately, disseminating them across the array with precision and resonance. Dialogue remains prevalent across the remaining elements, whilst effects are both relegated to nominal atmospheric nods and also restricted by a distinctly 70s feel, but the soundtrack - and indeed the gigs and performances - breathe new life into the track and deliver some wholly engaging musical pieces, including that standout rendition by Oldman, as Sid, of Sinatra's My Way.


    This new 30th Anniversary also sports a trio of Interviews, with director Alex Cox, cinematographer Roger Deakins, and filmmaker/musician Don Letts who has done several punk documentaries. Unfortunately Studiocanal clearly didn't get the rights to the other, earlier extras available on previous releases which included a commentary.


    Sid and Nancy Verdict
    Worth watching for Oldman's performance alone

    Celebrating its 30th Anniversary, Sid & Nancy benefits from an excellent video restoration supervised by legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins himself, as well as a decent, athentic audio track, and the new Interview-based extras are welcome, although we do miss out on some extras available on previous editions.

    You can buy Sid and Nancy on Blu-ray here

    Suggested retail price when reviewed: £14.99

    The Rundown



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