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REVIEW: Dishing THE DIRT on rock and roll debauchery

While there were many bands to come before that pushed the rock and roll as hedonism ethos, there were few who pushed it harder than Los Angeles-born glam-metallers Mötley Crüe.

The hard-livin’, hard tourin’, hard druggin’ lifestyle of Nikki Sixx, Mick Mars, Vince Neil and Tommy Lee, was the subject of an unflinching account of life on the road in The Dirt: Confessions Of The World’s Most Notorious Rock Band by Neil Strauss in conjunction with the band.

The book never shies away from the band’s uncomfortable and unsavoury moments, such as endless meaningless dalliances with ‘groupies’, Sixx’s almost fatal addiction to heroin and Vince Neil serving 15 days of a 30 day sentence for the vehicular manslaughter of Hanoi Rocks drummer Nicholas ‘Razzle’ Dingley to name but a few.

Now, director Jeff Tremaine, who was previously known for helming the Jackass flicks has turned his camera to the Crüe and the result is a glossed-over albeit, at times, enjoyable account.

Should I watch it?

If you are a fan of the band or familiar with the source material, there will more than likely be a few cringeworthy moments, but if you’re going into The Dirt cold, it might be a different story.

Tremaine revels in the familiar rock bio tropes that we’ve seen a million times before, but decent performances from the Central Coast’s own Daniel Webber, who plays frontman Vince Neil and Machine Gun Kelly (aka Colson Baker) as a wide-eyed Tommy Lee, and a stunning attention to detail when recreating the Mötley Crüe live experience, were definite highlights.

However, while this is a flick that focuses on a band’s relationship with substances, the end result is one with not a lot of substance under the surface gloss and rock star bravado.

Rather than serving as a cautionary tale of the dangers of rock and roll excess, The Dirt prefers to revel in the backstage and afterparty “shenanigans”, leaving the end result with little redemptive depth or meaningful drama.

3 stars

Running time: 107 minutes

Release Date: Now streaming on Netflix

Who is in it: Machine Gun Kelly, Douglas Booth, Daniel Webber, Iwan Rheon, Pete Davidson

Written by Stephen Bisset