Critics Consensus

Performance is an exuberant and grimy ode to the sexual revolution, evoking cultural upheaval and identity crisis with rock 'n' roll verve and a beguiling turn by Mick Jagger.



Total Count: 34


Audience Score

User Ratings: 5,175
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Movie Info

This psychological crime thriller finds Chas (James Fox) as a crook on the run from the law. He hides out at the house of Turner (Mick Jagger), a rocker who lives with Pherber (Anita Pallenberg) and Lucy (Michelle Breton). Sexual situations and sadism prompted the original X rating, that was later rescinded to R. Randy Newman conducts the music of Jack Nitzsche for this psychedelic psychodrama.


News & Interviews for Performance

Critic Reviews for Performance

All Critics (34) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (29) | Rotten (5)

  • With a pleasurably peculiar cast of James Fox, Mick Jagger and Anita Pallenberg, Performance is one of the weirdest slices of Seventies London around, combining gangster violence and ritual humiliation with decaying rock-star glamour.

    Jul 23, 2015 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Kate Muir

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • Pop stars continue to have bad luck in films.

    Mar 25, 2013 | Full Review…
  • The movie is a facile enough pastiche of underground pyrotechnics and Euro-art pretensions, but far more evocative now is the fast, offhand repartee between the principals.

    Mar 25, 2013 | Full Review…
  • Rapture and boredom both seem valid responses.

    Mar 25, 2013 | Full Review…
  • Roeg's debut as a director is a virtuoso juggling act which manipulates its visual and verbal imagery so cunningly that the borderline between reality and fantasy is gradually eliminated.

    Feb 9, 2006 | Full Review…

    Tom Milne

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • It isn't altogether successful, largely because it tries too hard and doesn't pace itself to let its effects sink in.

    Oct 23, 2004 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Performance

  • Oct 06, 2015
    Performance is a great film for those that want to feel verve and are willing to pay the cost of nonconformity. The dialogue has got liveness and the music has soul; the attitude is rock-and-roll ("I am alive and well. You push the buttons.") The pacing is good, and goes back-and-forth with tension and play throughout, right up to a memorable climax. This is an arty kind of film, but is also challenging and edgy, with a fair amount of violence, sex, and drugs (mostly violence) in its look at what man is spiritually. The performances of Mick Jagger and Jamie Fox are very complementary, it has a naturally artificial feeling as they give each other a hard time and secretly love it (the bit where they are in bed together is pretty damn funny). This is the interesting 60s, where the setting is old but the vibe is fresh and unrestrained and un-50s.
    Robert B Super Reviewer
  • Feb 14, 2012
    A bit dull in my opinion. My first exposure to Jagger as an actor and I don't like what I see here.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Oct 27, 2011
    Roeg's first film is a strange trip with a deranged Mick Jagger.
    Graham J Super Reviewer
  • Feb 10, 2011
    Gangland enforcer James Fox gets involved with decadent fading rock star Mick Jagger in Nicholas Roeg's and Donald Cammell's cult film Few films encapsulate drug-crazed Swinging 60s London like this one, though it was only seen three years after it was made and then heavily-edited because Warners were shocked at what they had financed. The film exceeded the boundaries of good taste that always epitomized British cinema. This superbly shot, deeply disturbing, complex, often pretentious, often brilliant parable of confused identity was the first feature directed by leading cinematographer Roeg, sharing the credit with artist Cammell. An eerily plausible Fox, cast against type, plays Chas, a sadistic gangster on the run who rents a room in the Notting Hill Gate home of Turner (Jagger), a reclusive, sexually ambiguous, washed-up rock star. Fox, his antithesis, is offered women and magic mushrooms before literally swapping personalities with the singer. Fox abandoned the cinema for almost a decade after this film, such was its effect on him. Verdict A dazzling, ideas-rich, extraordinarily inventive full-stop to the 60s
    Cassandra M Super Reviewer

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