Love Kills – Celebrating the 30th anniversary of Sid & Nancy
As everyone knows, the ingredients for a perfect love story always follow certain rules – sex, drugs, murder, heroin overdoses.
Welcome to love – Alex Cox style.
Sid & Nancy: Love Kills, Cox’s seminal and gritty retelling of the doomed love affair of Sex Pistols’ bassist Sid Vicious and his American groupie-turned-girlfriend Nancy Spungen, turns 30 this year.
Yet it’s lost none of its edginess and vitality, in part largely due to the charismatic turns of its protagonists: Gary Oldman, in his first major film role, and Chloe Webb.
This is not a bio-pic in the conventional sense of the term – Cox isn’t interested in the childhood or peaks and troughs of his characters’ lives: this is a portrayal of the destruction of two people, infatuated with each other and with heroin, and their inevitable and nihilistic end. That destruction permeated into the making of the film: Oldman lost so much weight to play the emaciated punk icon he ended up in hospital.
Throw in an appearance by Courtney Love as a junkie (Love originally auditioned for Nancy – how prophetic would that have been in her later unstable relationship with Kurt Cobain!?), music by Joe Strummer and The Pogues – and, bizarrely, rumours that all five original members of Guns N’ Roses appeared as extras, long before they even met to form a band! – and you have the making of a great rock n’ roll opera that pulls no punches.
Interestingly, if anyone’s interested in checking out the copious amount of research Cox did in preparation for this film, his two huge notebooks can be viewed at the Bradford Media Museum!