When I first moved to the UK myself, my brother and a few friends went through a phase of reading rock star autobiographies. Anthony Kiedis and Slash were popular but the number one book we all loved was The Dirt, which tells the story of Mötley Crüe from the perspective of all four band members. It was raw, brutal, shocking and hilarious. I am not even a
Mötley Crüe fan and I was obsessed. When I found out Netflix was going to make a film about the book I was immediately keen to watch it.
Mötley Crüe had so many interesting run-ins with other famous bands and band members and the only ones who show up are Ozzy Osbourne (Tony Cavalero) for about a minute, Slash – passed out on a couch and the ill-fated Razzle (Max Milner) from Hanoi Rocks. There are so many missed opportunities that seem to be related to time constraints.
When it comes to the performances, Booth is not charismatic enough to pull off Nikki Sixx. He tries very hard to project Nikki’s passion and spiral into addiction but it doesn’t really work. Being pretty and putting on the face paint does not a rock star make. Iwan Rheon is usually great but I didn’t buy his Mick Mars. He looked extremely uncomfortable at all times. I know Mars suffered from health problems and was in pain but that is not what I mean.
It is rescued somewhat by its other stars. Daniel Webber is great as Vince Neil. He completely throws himself into Neil’s raunchy onstage persona but also brings gravitas to his brush with death and the loss of his daughter. Surprisingly Colson Baker AKA Machine Gun Kelly really embodies Tommy Lee’s high energy, live in the moment sunshine simpleton persona and he is a joy to watch. I was also impressed with Rebekah Graf whose portrayal of Heather Locklear is so accurate it feels like you’ve gone back in time to Melrose Place circa 1992.
It’s not a great interpretation of the book. It’s not even a good one. I mean it was a laugh for two hours but you’d be much better off reading the book. The book has cult status with reason. The film is unlikely to be remembered a month from now.