Have you heard of Mötley Crüe? Chances are the answer is yes seeing as they are one of the biggest and best-selling bands of all time. Formed in Los Angeles in 1981, the group was founded by bass player, Nikki Sixx and drummer Tommy Lee. Lead guitarist Mick Mars would join before vocalist, Vince Neil completed the line-up.
When people think of Mötley Crüe it’s not just their music that comes to mind but their hedonistic lifestyle that dominated their early years. The stories surrounding the band are legendary and in 2001 these were immortalised. In the collaborative autobiography The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band.
Everything you could ever want to know about Mötley Crüe is in this book. As well as plenty you don’t want to know. Or at least what the band can remember. It’s a fan favourite so when Netflix announced they would be turning the book into a movie biopic, excitement was rife. However, there was also trepidation. The Dirt is a very grimy reveal all. A rap sheet of nastiness and it was hard to be convinced that this would be showcased in all its glory.
Well, it’s out now and truth be told, it’s nothing special. At times it’s very good, at other times it’s very bad but most of the time it sits in the middle turning Mötley Crüe into a boring band. It paints them in a way that hides everything unique about them, speeding through the story and missing out massive chunks of information. It also shies away from a lot of the more debauched stories regarding the band with only Ozzy’s ant snorting and piss-licking standing out. However, who doesn’t already know this story?
Which is a common thread throughout The Dirt. How little new information is shown or shared here. No-one is going to learn anything new by watching this but that doesn’t mean they won’t be entertained.
The way in which the movie glosses over so much of their early years is downright frustrating. In the span of 15 minutes they go from fighting patrons in a club, to signing a record deal to playing to thousands of people in an arena. It feels so rushed but probably needed to be otherwise the movie would be hours long. Maybe it would have been better as a series?
It’s an enjoyable watch though. Helped by some strong and believable performances.
Douglas Booth is great as Nikki Sixx, especially during the heroin addiction years. While Daniel Webber does a believable job as Vince Neil. I wasn’t sold on Colson Baker (Machine Gun Kelly) as Tommy Lee but give him credit, he really did a good job. The one that isn’t imagined as well as is Mick Mars, played by Iwan Rheon. Now, he’s a great actor but he has a face that kind of typecasts him. Especially if you’re a Game of Thrones fan. He’s the only actor who I couldn’t picture as the person he is portraying. It wasn’t Mick Mars on screen, it was Iwan Rheon.
As a biopic it’s less MTV and more VH1. If you’re looking for a mildly safe look at one of the most controversial bands in history (don’t get me wrong, it’s not a family film) then The Dirt will provide.