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View All The Public Image is Rotten News
All Critics (15)
| Top Critics (4)
| Fresh (10)
| Rotten (5)
The Public Image Is Rotten is a documentary that serves its potential audience well.
Diehard fans may enjoy The Public Image is Rotten, but there's not a lot here that they-or even adventurous newbies-can't get more of elsewhere.
Even if you've scratched your head over Mr. Lydon's TV ad work and other efforts to maintain a professional life in recent years, this affectionate and frank movie can elicit newfound admiration for a slightly mellowed iconoclast.
Archival footage of Lydon in the bracing hostility of his youth contrasts dramatically with present-day interviews showing him domesticated, compromised, and happy in the wisdom that most of us learn to accept as compensation.
This documentary, directed by Tabbert Fiiller... features the good fun of Lydon's raconteur rants and his willingness to always up-end expectations.
But it's Public Image Limited that Lydon is most loved for by music nerds, and The Public Image is Rotten is the definitive portrait of the band's ups and downs over its decades of existence.
The Public Image is Rotten gives John Lydon's full view of PiL, but it's a shame the scope wasn't stretched out a bit further.
Watchable and intermittently entertaining, if hardly incisive, and slightly over-long at 105 minutes, The Public Image Is Rotten includes much that will be of interest only to devotees.
Fiiller has a lot of material to juggle but does so admirably. It's breathless at times, but never less than engaging. Better yet, Lydon's increasingly baffling politics are kept well out of it.
As fascinating and well-crafted as it is, The Public Image Is Rotten is ultimately a vanity project.
An almost-sentimental portrait of John Lydon in Winter
The Public Image Is Rotten rises to the top of rock documentary filmmaking with a refreshing sense of candid storytelling only made possible by the genuine frankness of its subjects.
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