Saturday, August 21, 2010

DVD Review: “Final 24: Sid Vicious, His Final Hours”

Text © Robert Barry Francos/FFanzeen
Images from the Internet

Final 24: Side Vicious, His Final Hours
Season 1, Episode 1
Cineflix International, 2006
60 minutes, USD $14.95

Having seen two other of this Canadian series (Janis J and Keith M, reviewed previously) that was once presented on the Discovery Channel, I was looking forward to seeing more, especially the first one, on Sid Vicious. I was wondering what their take on the whole affair, and the question about Nancy’s death. This DVD did not disappoint.

This is another fine mixture of first person interviews and actual images of Sid and his crew, such as footage (including the famous bed interview with Sid and Nancy) from Lech Kowalski’s D.O.A. documentary. Throughout, actors dramatize Sid’s last day while the real persons often included in these vignettes discuss what you are seeing in 2007 monologs. British narrator Danny Wallace (listed on the box, though IMDB claims it was Dave McRae) somberly informs us regularly of the time of day, and just how much longer our anti-hero has to live (e.g., “In four hours, Sid will be dead”).

The action jumps back and forth between the dramatized last day and documentary scenes of Sid’s life up to that moment. Between each commercial break there is a different period discussed, be it childhood, Pistol-hood, drug use, Nancy’s demise, and post-prison. His mom, Anne Beverly, comes off as creepy as Deborah Spungen, Nancy’s mom, did in her book, And I Don’t Want to Live This Life.

There is a mystery exposed here, and I was assuming that it would be information about Nancy’s death, which has had as many expository causes as JFK, but the end takes us down a different and very interesting path that I will not expose, but is an attention-grabbing thought, though it is impossible to track as everyone concerned is mort.

Many familiar and not well known names are presented in 2007 interviews, such as Peter Kodick, who bought him his last shots (Kodick listed as Sid’s “friend,” and yet I still don’t understand why he is not in jail for accessory), his friends Eileen Polk and Alan Jones, his lawyer James Merberg, Pistols’ roadie Steve Connelly, Glen Matlock (which I found ironic), and even the late Malcolm McLaren. Unfortunately they did not talk to his post-Nancy girlfriend, Michele Robinson, or any of his band members.

Usually what really makes the program is not necessarily the last 24 hours, which is nicely dissected in increments of events with a digital clock showing how much time the subject has left to live, but the overview of the person’s life. However, in this case, the show posits an idea into Sid’s death I had not heard before (though I did hear a variation of it), making this a bit more relevant and “new.”

For all the high drama visuals and narratives, the program actually manages to make Sid somewhat of a sympathetic man-child who was out of control and had a lack of boundaries buried under fame and a needle. This surprised me, as I was expecting more of a modern-style expose. Sid comes off as more of a Boris Karloff’s Frankenstein’s monster, created by the media and music business, than, say, the cold killing machine of Glenn Strange’s version of said creature.

Like most of the other people in this series, Sid’s death began with circumstances beyond his reach, in a world full of cameras and twisted adoration, and he just couldn’t handle it. But the question is, who shot the sheriff, and this show tries to examine that very question.

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