The Filth and the Fury

Updated February 11, 2017 | Infoplease Staff
Director:Julien Temple
Fine Line Features; R; 105 minutes
With:The Sex Pistols: Johnny Rotten, Sid Vicious, Paul Cook

The Filth and the Fury is a raw and glowing testament to the paradoxical lasting power of punk's nihilism. It follows the Sex Pistol's history from growing pains to birth to self-erasure. A lot of gritty film and video footage is accompanied by rather funny present-day interview shots with various Pistols in sheer darkness. Johnny Rotten reveals himself to be pensive, unusually canny for such a leering, tantrum-reliant frontman. Sid's story is cast in a poignant light, turning tragic when he speaks about not wanting to be a junky and, months later, dying of a fatal overdose.

For the first hour, pacing is good and interest level remains high. Stunning archival footage from various British television shows demonstrates just how reviled the Sex Pistols were. When they leave to tour America (and break up), the documentary begins to drag. Nevertheless, it's a worthwhile affair for anyone who can hum along to "God Save the Queen".

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