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Pistol (2022) - FX/Disney+

Either you're old enough to remember the Sex Pistols the first time around (the first 7inch single I bought by myself was 'Somethin' Else/Friggin' In The Rigging) or you're not. You're probably not likely to have an opinion on them one way or another if you're under thirty, as if we can say one thing, they were definitely of their time, although influences still remain to this day.


Danny Boyle's biopic in six parts begins at the introduction of Steve Jones to Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood, caught stealing from Westwood's shop 'Sex' in London. At the time, McLaren was in close cahoots with Westwood and saw a spark of revolution in Jones, an unloved, unwashed, invisible youth with attitude and light fingers. Already in a band 'The Swankers' were not even ready to perform, but McLaren had set his sights on them already. Destined for greatness, it seemed. The candle that burns twice as bright only lasts half as long, is the adage as relevant here as anywhere. They just didn't shine for even that long.


My tangential musical brush with them was in 1979 with the aforementioned single. When my mother got wind of it, she made me sell it to an older friend of my sister. One of the few times censorship of any kind raised its head in our household. If it was going to happen, it was almost certainly going to happen with the Sex Pistols. By the time I was able to question punk and its effectiveness as a cultural yardstick, it had already been and gone.


My opinion of them as a group didn't really evolve until they had already been long finished, Johnny had been and done with Public Image Limited and was becoming more conformist by the year, which coloured my already inquisitive opinion of just how much of the Pistols was brand and how much was real. This biopic doesn't really provide an answer in the telling, given an image they are trying to portray. It's entertaining and informative to an extent, but never really answers the questions I had about them.


It's arguable that even today, being the loudest, sweariest, most offensive of anything will bring with it a certain amount notoriety, favourable or otherwise. That is not a skill or a talent, just an agenda borne from a need to be heard. Nice casting, acting and direction, but this a biopic made with a wide, sweeping brush.



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