For every soulless Bohemian Rhapsody, we are granted an even soul-corrupted The Dirt, a biopic of an iconic band – who claims to “drink, snort and fuck everything in sight” – Mötley fuckin’ Crüe. Undergoing years of inferno from Paramount and MTV Films to Focus Feature before ending up in development hell, the biopic – eventually picked up by Netlix – ends up doing what every other biopic couldn’t bear to do: debauching the subject but proudly and deliberately. It’s campy, sleazy, nasty, dumb, offensive, but, nonetheless, fun.
The film follows the band from how they rise into the Caligula-sized stardom to their final show in 2015. You’ll get introduced to Nikki Sixx (Douglas Booth), a total misfit who gets his mother jailed, before meeting Tommy Lee (Machine Gun Kelly), an innocent gig enthusiast turned into party monster. With Sixx on bass and Lee on drum, they immediately form the band (almost named XMass) with Mick Mars (Iwan Rheon), an older guitar savant, and Vince Neil (Daniel Webber), a former cover band vocal. From there, there’s basically no brake for the band and the movie doesn’t want to miss any hint of the band’s dirty scandal: including their encounter with Ozzy Osbourne, Tommy Lee & Pamela Anderson’s sextape, and Honai Rocks accident.
Helmed by Jackass director, Jeff Tremaine, who seems to be proficient in handling such debauchery, The Dirt turns total jackass – comical, slapstick and salacious. Most of the time, you’ll only see sex, drugs, boozes and rock n’ roll because, after all, it’s Mötley fuckin’ Crüe. Good thing is: they’re not doing it half-heartedly. It might be insensitive and, most apparently, derogatory and misogyny; but, it’s what actually happened with the band. Sadly, the whole picture seems to be glorifying their deed; instead of showing remorse of what they had become.
Tremaine deliberately engineered the biopic using his creative liberty and, even, admitted it on the screen. Booth, MGK, Rheon and Webber seem to enjoy portraying Mötley Crüe boys; not in the sense that they’re doing what Rami Malek and co. did in Bohemian Rhapsody. They just love to be reckless, care-free a – holes; they just love doing Jackass. Even, they don’t bother when they’re not playing it right during the live performance reenactment. Picture this not as a biopic, but as a reenactment of Mötley fuckin’ Crüe’s restlessness.
The Dirt (2019)
Music, Biography, Comedy Directed by: Jeff Tremaine Written by: Amanda Adelson, Rich Wilkes based on a book by Neil Strauss, Nikki Sixx, Vince Neil, Mick Mars and Tommy Lee Starred by: Douglas Booth, Machine Gun Kelly, Iwan Rheon, Daniel Webber Runtime: 107 mins