Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll

Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll

Mat Whitecross (2009)

15 Certificate


Our Score
Andy Serkis stars as singer/songwriter Ian Dury in director Mat Whitecross's engaging but overly frenetic biopic. Using the framework of a live gig by Dury and the Blockheads, an abstract portrait of the post-punk poet unfolds. There are flashbacks to his polio-stricken childhood, and the relationships with those he loved: his wife (Olivia Williams), girlfriend (Naomie Harris) and son (Bill Milner). But the fantastical presentation - incorporating animation, newsreels and clips from Spartacus - and music video-style fast-cutting soon get tedious. And they can't disguise the fact that this busy mythologising hews close to the usual price-of-fame biographical clichés, as friends and family become casualties of Dury's selfish creative drives. But the top-notch performances give viewers Reasons to Be Cheerful - Milner is terrific and Serkis is the tour de force at the film's centre, capturing the charisma that made the destructively complex Dury the "housewives' favourite" punk rocker.


Biopic of highly influential punk singer Ian Dury, examining his lifelong struggle with the disability caused by contracting polio as a child, and the impact his rise to fame in the late 1970s and volatile personality had on those closest to him, particularly his son Baxter. Starring Andy Serkis, Bill Milner, Naomie Harris and Olivia Williams.

Cast & Crew

Ian Dury Andy Serkis
Baxter Bill Milner
Denise Naomie Harris
Betty Olivia Williams
Hargreaves Toby Jones
Bill Dury Ray Winstone
Russell Mackenzie Crook
Desmond/Sparky Noel Clarke
Director Mat Whitecross
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: EntertainmentGuidance: Swearing, sex scenes, drug abuse. Available on: DVD and Blu-ray