The Filth and the Fury

The Filth and the Fury

Entertaining documentary about the rise and fall of the notorious Sex Pistols, a quartet of working class London lads who, in 1976, banged away on their instruments, offended a lot of "proper" people, invented punk rock, and arguably changed popular music forever.

Director Temple's involvement with the band dates back to his 1980 mockumentary The Great Rock & Roll Swindle, which was overseen by Malcolm McLaren, the devious Svengali who "created" the Pistols and then drove them to ruin. McLaren now clearly gets the shaft in this new documentary; how much he deserves such wrath and ridicule may only truly be known by Sex Pistols front man Johnny Rotten, who definitely bears a grudge.

More than just a poison pen letter to McLaren, The Filth and the Fury is a rich document of a turbulent era and a few very turbulent young people (mainly Rotten and late Pistols bassist Sid Vicious). It's also great fun. Temple takes a whimsical approach to his editing, cutting between archival footage of the Pistols in concert, contemporary interviews with the surviving members of the band (coyly silhouetted so as not to reveal the gruesome old men they've become), snippets of old-fart English comics, scenes from Laurence Olivier's Richard III(!), and everything in between. Even if you weren't alive when "God Save the Queen" hit the top of the charts, you'll be fascinated by this lively, enlightening account of a seminal time in rock history.