With a similar skeletal crew serving-up first–person testimonials to those in director Danny Garcia’s Thunders biopic Looking For Johnny, Sad Vacation is just as morbidly fascinating, ghoulish and opiated – and measures up equally short.
What’s in it’s fair enough (even if the reliability of the witnesses is questionable, to say the least), it’s what’s not that frustrates. Having been spoiled by definitive, wholly satisfying Julien Temple efforts in this general cinematic area, you’re left wanting. Uncontaminated by Sex Pistols, there’s little here most fans don’t already know about Sid’s life leading up to Nancy’s final sordid days in NYC’s Chelsea Hotel and his own stupid demise three months later (and, being realistic, fans and hard-core ones at that, are the sole audience a film such as this is likely to reach).
The silence of obvious absentees (Lydon, Viv Albertine, Steve Dior) is deafening, and the distinct lack of Pistols recordings only serves to accentuate a fair few baffling soundtrack choices.
At the heart of the movie is a sketchy investigation into who it was that actually despatched Nancy. But after watching the same few still shots spool past for a couple of hours, trying not to nod out to endless footage of ex-punk ‘scenesters’ trying not to nod out, you’re left feeling no closer to the truth than you were in 1978.