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Beware the Creeper!

Iain's life as a psychotic crimefighter

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Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll (Sydney Film Festival)

Biopic of Ian Dury (of Ian Dury and the Blockheads fame.)

You can't fault the casting of Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll. Andy Serkis inhabits the carnivalesque character of Dury like a second skin. He has the growl, he has humour, he captured exactly what was appealing and so very different about Ian Dury. We also have Olivia Williams (Dollhouse) as his wife and Naomie Harris (28 Days Later) as his lover. No less than two Dr Who companions appear (Arthur Darvill relegated to the background as a Blockhead and Noel Clarke gets a scene to himself as an angry record producer) and we also get Toby Jones, Ray Winstone, Mackenzie Crook and Michael Maloney.

And then we get needlessly flashy direction to bugger everything up, as if the director doesn't want to be outshone by the brilliant cast. It doesn't help that despite the collage effects, the animation and the disorientating editing, that the story flattens Dury out to be effectively an angry cripple who alienates everyone he works with (and the film itself doesn't give any reason for anyone to stay with him, relying on Serkis's charisma to do the job.) It's certainly less flattering to Dury than, say, "Chopper" was to Mark Reid but the more interesting stories in Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll seem to be occurring on the periphery of the film - we never see his first marriage to Betty, we don't have a clue how successful Chas Jankel was on his own (or even why he would have stayed with Dury so long, he's painted as a huge music nerd, much more interested in finding the perfect riff than actually performing) we have these people drift in and out of Dury's life and the only one who doesn't change is Dury.

Criticisms aside, it was worth it for the magnificent central performance by Serkis, more a channelling of Dury's ferocious spirit and energy than a mere impersonation. I just wish the film was a more solid platform to support it.

(This trailer gives you a very good idea of what to expect, accidentally revealing a little too much of the ordinary biopic at the heart of the film.)

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Gee, Serkis does look rather good in this role!

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