Be careful playing with that — someone’s going to get hurt.
The last time legendary DJ and director Don Letts, one of the more authoritative voices in Alan G. Parker's Who Killed Nancy?, saw Sid Vicious with girlfriend Nancy Spungen, he witnessed Sid repeatedly poking Nancy with a knife, sticking her until she said, “Ow, Sid, that hurts, be careful — someone’s going to get hurt.”
Someone did get hurt. Someone got murdered, as Mick Jones of The Clash, Don Letts' famous co-founder of Big Audio Dynamite, succinctly sang.
Who Killed Nancy?, a documentary-style series of interviews, occasionally interrupted by hyper-stylized re-enactments of the crime, opened this weekend at the Cinema Village. Who Killed Nancy?, directed by Alan G. Parker, is not really an exploration of what happened on that tragic night at the Chelsea Hotel when Sex Pistols’ ex-bassist Sid Vicious reportedly stabbed his longtime girlfriend, American Nancy Spungen. It's more of a shopping list of interviews about of what sort of junkie Sid was. A more appropriate title might be "Who or What Killed Sid?" And the answer would be drugs and maybe his mother, Anne Beverly. After all, she reportedly brought him drugs on many occasions including the night of his overdose, but we won't know more about that deadly relationship because Anne Beverly commmitted suicide in 1996.
Digressions aside, the PR material for this film presents Sid and Nancy as a modern day Romeo and Juliet, but this film has more in common with Much Ado About Nothing, as in Mr. Parker brings nothing new to the discussion. Not that the tragic, drug-fueled deaths of these two young people are nothing, but Mr. Parker’s documentary adds little to the speculation about what happened that night in the Chelsea Hotel. Shoddy police work, mysterious figures going in and out of the room that night, piles of cash that may or may not have been piled high on bureaus do not change the basic elements of the story: it is a modern day tragedy, not of a Romeo and Juliet-like love doomed because of family tension, but of the stark tragedy of drug addiction, the suicidal, not homicidal kind.