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Hedwig And The Angry Inch
USA 2001
Directed by John Cameron Mitchell
Running time 95 minutes
Rated R

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4.5 stars


In broad terms this belongs in the "rock film" category. Somewhat reminiscent of a mockrockumentary such as Hard Core Logo, which follows the on-the-road-again exploits of a small-time punk band, in this instance we have a neo-glam Eastern Bloc combo touring a chain of down-market fast-food restaurants. The outcome is lots of cheap motel rooms and over-stretched egos peppered with tongue-in-cheek humour. Somewhat differently, however, here the music is as important a component as the story and it is excellent. Stephen Trask who wrote the music and performs in the band is clearly enamoured of Velvet Underground, Bowie of the Ziggy Stardust era and 70s glam rock bands like Mott the Hoople and The Alex Harvey Band. He is a skilled writer both musically and lyrically and well deserves 50% of the credit for the success of this film (he also co-wrote the film with director Mitchell, who is also outstanding in the lead, not that anyone else really gets a look-in). Direction is impressively energetic, irreverent and inventive, mixing the narrative with musical numbers, flashbacks, stock footage and animated sequences. The film boasts an exuberant palette resulting from some excellent costume design that superbly complements the music. Unfortunately, somewhat like a 70s concept album, the film does tend to run out of steam as it progresses, coming finally to a rather messy resolution however overall Hedwig And The Angry Inch is still a wonderfully energetic and off-beat film.  BH

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