Performance (Warner Home Video)

Video and DVD


1970, Rated R

This perverse, hallucinatory and way-ahead-of-its-time look at the dark side of Britain's Pop Revolution of the 1960s — an originally-X-rated flip side to the sexy giddiness of Blow-Up combined with a tough British gangster flick — so scared the executives at Warner Bros. that they delayed its release for two years. It also scared the public, which stayed away from it at first. Times have caught up, thus this DVD reissue. Bravely stylish cinematographer Nicolas Roeg (Don't Look Now) and writer Donald Cammell were pushing the ideas of "liberation" far further than the times were ready. Chas (James Fox), a macho criminal on the run, finds refuge in the decadent home of reclusive Pop star Turner (Mick Jagger), who is ministered to by two women (Anita Pallenberg and the childlike Michele Breton). Slowly, the Pop star's lifestyle starts to seduce the gangster's — and maybe vice versa. The character of Turner might be based on the late Rolling Stone Brian Jones. The fantastic soundtrack, which features a music-video-like performance of "Memo from Turner" by Jagger, also features Randy Newman's most rocking song ever, "Gone Dead Train." (Steven Rosen) Grade: A