The essential task of any quality biopic is to persuade the audience that however “good” or “bad” or likable or dislikable a person may have seemed to his/her peers (or seems right now to history), the character had his/her reasons for acting as she did and being who he/she was. So if you decide to show this person acting like an insensitive, arrogant asshole — even in a single scene — you need to explain why with a semblance of empathy.
I’m mentioning this because I’m finally seeing the Ian Dury biopic, Sex & Drugs & Rock ‘n’ Roll, at a Tribeca Film Festival screening tonight, and it occured to me this morning that I’ve been feeling slightly irate for months over a certain clip in the trailer. I’m speaking of a shot that happens around 33-second mark in which a presumably drunken Dury (Andy Serkis) pours a bottle of what looks like a bottle of white liqueur directly into a mixing board in a recording studio.
I can shrug off or at least tolerate rock stars throwing furniture out of hotel windows or seducing 15 year-old girls at L.A.’s Park Hyatt (sorry, pitchforkers!) or driving Lincoln Continentals into swimming pools — they’re expected to do this, after all, and they do have a responsibility to their fans — but only an absolute world-class wanker would ruin the mother-board circuitry in a recording studio. People who run recording studios are respected members of the rock-music fraternity, and hurting the owners of a studio by costing them untold thousands to replace a mixing board is beyond despicable.
I’m open to whatever explanation or mitigating circumstance may be presented by director Mat Whitecross, but the excuse for ruining that mixing board had better be damn good or else.