Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Movie Review: THE DIRT (2019)

The Dirt


This movie has been in the pipeline for years, ever since the runaway success of the book. It almost felt surreal to finally be watching it. What was really cool was that it launched on Netflix last Friday, and all of my 'Metal' friends all seemed to be watching it at the same time. It was like being a kid in the 80's, when we all came into school on the Monday and talked about some film or TV show that we'd watched over the weekend!

Anyway, having read The Dirt a few years ago, the movie is an excellent adaptation. Naturally, a lot had been barely touched upon or omitted altogether as there was too much to fit into a single movie. 

I think it's important when reviewing a movie like this to remember that it's just that. It's not a documentary, it's a film designed to entertain. Due to the volume of source material, the pacing, and the character development, a few things clearly had to be changed to make the story work in this context. The timeline is more than a little sketchy, and there are a few untruths that will annoy a few die-hard Motley Crue fans.

I was expecting The Dirt to be an over-the-top Sex Drugs n' Rock n' Roll film veering a little too much into the realms of cheesy clichés, kinda like American Satan (read my review here) but without the supernatural element. It is very much that, but had some real depth in places that made it a more credible piece of work and saved it from being superficial trash.

I have to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed The Dirt. The actors were really convincing and some of the scenes and sets had been lovingly re-created from original photos and video footage. The film was fast-paced, really funny in places, and ultimately made the four reprobate band members quite endearing, despite their never-ending list of flaws.

The movie certainly did tackle some of the darkness and tragedy that plagued the band at certain points in their career. They stated in the press that the film wouldn't shy away from these issues, but that's only a half-truth. For example, there's the scene where Tommy Lee punches his fiancée in the face on the tour bus. I'm not sure what the real-life events were, but in the movie, she's only focussed on a matter of minutes before the punch and not at all afterwards. She's demonised to a ridiculous degree, fucking Nicki Sixx behind Tommy's back moments before meeting his parents, referring to Tommy's mother as a cunt several times, them stabbing Tommy in the back with a pen. When Tommy loses it and punches her, there isn't a single viewer who wouldn't have thought that the character deserved it. It's a little uncomfortable considering that this is 'based on a true story', and it's highly unlikely that this is an accurate representation of what really happened.

In addition, Vince Neil's car crash scene where Hanoi Rocks' drummer Razzle is killed is pretty horrific as it should be. I was pleased that it was mentioned that there were two other people in critical condition. Sometimes these other victims aren't mentioned in the music press as though only rock stars count. However, although the film mentioned the ludicrously short jail sentence Vince received, it didn't explain why. When the law doesn't apply to the rich and famous in the same way it does to ordinary folk, people get pissed off and I think the writers of the film didn't want to vilify Vince's character too much by telling the whole truth. In fairness, it would have been a shit film if the viewer started to hate the main characters, and the screenplay was tweaked a few times to ensure that Motley Crue always bounced back as the flawed but loveable heroes they clearly want to be perceived as.

One thing that did piss me off a little was how the John Corabi era was glossed over as some mistake, and their first show was reminiscent of Spinal Tap supporting the puppet show. For the few seconds John was in it, he was portrayed as boring and crap. In reality, John was in the band for 5 years and the self-titled Motley Crue album not only scored 5 K's in Kerrang!, but is still revered by many fans as the best album they ever did. John saved their career through the Grunge years and he's rewarded by being made to look like a bell-end. The fact that the band signed off on the script shows the lack of respect for a guy that used to be their friend.

My above criticisms aren't that major really. As I said before, it's just a film. A story based on some truth with plenty of entertaining fantasy filling in the gaps, helping Motley Crue to be remembered the way they'd like to be remembered, and taking the fans on an unforgettable roller-coaster ride.

Now let's wait for Guns n' Roses to announce that they're making a movie like this too!

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