Disgusting. Provocative. Exploitive. These words make up the all-new FX mini-series, “Pistol” which explores the rise and eventual fall of the punk band known as The Sex Pistols.
Based on Jones’ memoir “Lonely Boy: Tales from a Sex Pistol”, the limited series “Pistol” is the story of a band of spotty, noisy, working-class kids with “no future” who shook the boring, corrupt Establishment to its core, threatened to bring down the government and changed music and culture forever. The furious, raging storm at the center of this revolution is the band Sex Pistols — and at the center of this series is Sex Pistols’ founding member and guitarist, Steve Jones. Jones’ hilarious, emotional and at times heartbreaking journey guides viewers through a kaleidoscopic telling of three of the most epic, chaotic and mucus-spattered years in the history of music.
Directed by Danny Boyle (Trainspotting) the series is shot like a fever dream blending real archival footage with new and creates a frantic and sporadic story narrative that could only work through the anger and drug riddled members of the Sex Pistols.
One of the things I love about these music biopics is the origins of how the bands form and how they create the music. Here, the Sex Pistols are all combustible elements that are thrown into a room together and through their hatred for each other compose anarchy hit after hit until they have enough material to unleash on the public.
The casting here is fantastic. Anson Boon perfectly embodies the ticking time bomb that is Johnny Rotten. Louis Partridge showcases the quick tempered and self destructive Sid Vicious when he enters the series about halfway through.
However it’s Toby Wallace’s turn as Steve Jones that is the glue that holds the mini-series (and the band) together. His musical journey from being a failed lead singer to a guitarist who couldn’t even play to basically the leader of the band is one of the most interesting aspects of the show.
Pistol also showed the cultural impact the band had on society and the punk rock fashion, lifestyle, etc. that came from it. But it also showed that the anarchist revolution wasn’t something that could sustain itself too long. After all, if everyone is an anarchist who is left to rebel against? This eventually takes hold of the band itself when they self destruct and implode leading to a mutiny and ousting of Johnny Rotten and the death of Sid Vicious.
Still though, the series is an impactful punk rock anthem that can’t be denied and HipsterZOMBIEJoint Joint highly recommends checking it out.