MVD Visual // 2007 // 52 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Steve Power (Retired) // August 4th, 2010
A look at the final 24 hours of the life of Sid Vicious...
Our morbid curiosity with dead celebrities has long given documentary filmmakers and reality TV producers plenty of fodder. The series, The Final 24, takes your average storied, and dead of course, celebrities and gives the viewer a glimpse at the final 24 hours of their lives.
Sid Vicious, fresh out of Riker's Island Prison and facing a murder charge for the death of his girlfriend, Nancy Spunger, swiftly found himself pulled into a pit of depression and uncertainty. The former Sex Pistol had already led a storied life up to that point, becoming one of the iconic figures of the early punk rock movement with his bloody on stage shenanigans and his drug fueled relationship with Nancy, but his final few weeks on earth were full of craziness, from suicide attempts to psychiatric wards. His death has been dramatized before, his relationship with Nancy was the subject of the 1986 cult hit, Sid and Nancy, but where this particular documentary differs, is in presenting some new facts that shine a whole new light on Sid's final hours.
Being a series made for television, there's a lot of repetition, and commercial breaks are telegraphed by the narrators constant re-iterating of certain facts. The "Final 24" moniker is a bit of a misnomer as well, as the show actually delves right back to Sid's humble beginnings as a shy London teenager embroiled in the punk scene. The appeal of this particular episode, and the Final 24 show in general, is that it does actually delve into the whys and hows that lead up to the fatal outcome of its subjects instead of just running down a checklist of events. The checklist is there as well of course, but usually interspersed between important comings and goings-on that lead up to the final day. For a Canadian series, the production value is actually quite good; the re-enactments are well staged and well shot. There's also plenty of info presented in interviews with many of the relevant figures.
MVD does a fine job with a clean, anamorphic transfer that looks natural and film-like, doing a great job of hiding the show's TV origins. The sound is 2.0 stereo, but again, is strong, clear, and resonant. There are no extras included, but the technical quality of the main program is to be commended.
There's a distinct lack of actual Sex Pistols music, but as far as exploring the final hours of the life of Sid Vicious, this one is a solid piece of work if you can get past the obvious "structured for TV" presentation.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: MVD Visual
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 52 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Not Rated