Hollywood’s love affair with music biopics continues with Netflix’s adaptation of Motley Crue’s controversial autobiography, The Dirt. Highlighting the band’s inception and the struggles they faced throughout their heyday in the 1980s, The Dirt is an accurate portrayal of the Sunset Strip hair metal scene and the excesses that rock stars were capable of during that period.
Starring Daniel Webber as Vince Neil, Douglas Booth as Nikki Sixx, Machine Gun Kelly as Tommy Lee, and former Game of Thrones actor Iwan Rheon as Mick Mars, The Dirt makes the most out of its actor’s portrayals of their real life counterparts. MGK’s performance as Tommy Lee was especially noteworthy, as he was able to capture Lee’s frenetic energy and over the top personality. While the rest of the cast gave solid performances, fans should not expect portrayals like Rami Malek’s Oscar winning role as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody.
The glaring problem with this movie is the script. It relies too much on the hedonism and debauchery that Motley Crue reveled in, and misses the opportunity to build on specific moments in their lives and careers that were tragic and life changing. Certainly, the director and screenwriters could have dedicated more time to Vince Neil’s car crash that killed his friend and injured two other motorists. Aside from Neil’s accident, the creators could have dedicated more time to Nikki Sixx’s fatal overdose or Neil’s heartbreaking ordeal with his daughter’s terminal cancer diagnosis. These moments were spoken about at length in the original book that inspired the screenplay, so to see the film speed through these instances in order to progress to the next point in the Motley Crue timeline is a missed opportunity of vast proportions.
Despite these glaring mistakes by the filmmakers, The Dirt is still an enjoyable film. It was entertaining to see the passion that the characters felt towards their lifestyle and their music. The best scenes were the concert scenes, which the actors recreated perfectly. Each actor was able to expertly capture the mannerisms and nuances of their respective character, and these moments helped distract from the paper thin, formulaic story. Diehard Motley Crue fans will undoubtedly love this film, as well as those fans looking for a fun film to enjoy without investing too much emotion into it. However, given the outrageous and unbelievable events that the members of the band each endured, this could have been Netflix’s Bohemian Rhapsody, instead of an extended version of Behind the Music.