Film Review: Performance (James Fox and Mick Jagger) (1970)

An archive film from 1970 might not seem interesting, especially as it’s a pathetic attempt to cash in on Jagger’s fame and notoriety. Jagger was presumably intended to emulate the cute Beatles. Performance absolutely isn’t Help!

What the producers got from Nicholas Roeg was a searing performance from James Fox as a brutal gangster. A psychopath eagerly looking forward to another opportunity to be unleashed on a business needing ‘protection’. Fox (Chaz) is plausible and outstanding.

Chaz doesn’t fit in in the gangster business, he enjoys violence too much. Eventually he murders another member in a very violent scene. For the first time ambiguity about sexuality comes into focus. Chaz is conflicted as is his principal attacker about homosexuality. On the run he lives in a derelict house ruled by Jagger (Turner). A burnt out rock star he remarks, “I hate music.” Chaz is fed magic mushrooms and spliffs and yet is still a working-class conservative hating Bohemians. Chaz is betrayed by his best friend. Having tracked him down his gangster employer lines him up to be executed. Before this happens Chaz gets permission to exact revenge on Turner’s lifestyle and Bohemians in general.

Why you should buy/stream this film: It’s an early Roeg British Art House but isn’t a period piece.

Why you shouldn’t bother: You’re in love with CGI

An alternative review: https://www.timeout.com/london/film/performance

Chris

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