Movie Review by Susannah Macklin
Starring: John Cameron Mitchell, Michael Pitt, Miriam Shor
Director: John Cameron Mitchell
As a small boy growing up in communist East Germany, Hedwig spent his days dreaming of freedom, listening to American GI radio and playing in an oven! As a transsexual adult these memories help him to form pop songs with his pan-Slavic transgender band on his quest to find the origin of love.
If you hadn’t already guessed – this is no ordinary movie! Originally written for the stage as a musical, HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH was a knock out success in its off-Broadway run, but has now been brought superbly to the screen by writer/ actor/ director – John Cameron Mitchell.
A sort of TOMMY meets VELVET GOLDMINE, HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH follows its title character on a journey told through songs and gritty yet original visuals, while he tours with his band the Angry Inch (so named because of his botched sex change operation) trying to get recognition for songs stolen from him by one time protege Tommy Gnosis.
If it all sounds a bit of a mish-mash, it is! But in the best possible way. Don’t be put off by the bizarre premise or title of this movie, it may not be popcorn munching fodder – but it’s not as ‘out there’ as it sounds. The music is catchy and infectious, as is Mitchell’s performance as the fabulous and likeable Hedwig with his touching and achingly funny observations, and there are some unlikely and recognisable faces in solid performances (DAWSON’S CREEK fans especially might like to look out for Michael Pitt as Tommy Gnosis.)
With the August release of Baz Luhrmann’s MOULIN ROUGE looming large, it’s fair to say that this genre is back in vogue, and if not unfairly overshadowed by its bigger budgeted more spectacular counterpart – Hedwig and his band of merry (wo)men could be a huge cult hit.