Pistol is a biographical drama miniseries created by Craig Pearce and directed by Danny Boyle for FX. The miniseries charts the rise and fall of London punk pioneers Sex Pistols, mainly through the perspective of its guitarist (and founder) Steve Jones and is based on Jones’ 2017 memoir Lonely Boy.
S P O I L E R S
Pistol is better than anyone could have hoped or imagined. Obviously, characters are exaggerated for dramatic effect and events are compressed for the same reason but most of what a music fan would have wanted in a miniseries about the Pistols is featured. Thus, all the key events are depicted and key players are characters are present. But always bear in mind that this miniseries is by necessity a fictionalised account for entertainment purposes.
From a historical perspective, the viewer will get to see Steve Jones’ larceny that leads to the formation of a band with Glen Matlock, Paul Cook and Wally Nightingale aka The Swankers. Jones eventually gets on the radar of SEX shop co-owner, the wily Malcolm McLaren who takes an interest in the fledging band for his own purposes. If Jones is the Artful Dodger, then McLaren plays the part of Fagin perfectly. Ultimately, in order to fit into McLaren’s grand design John Rotten (Lydon) and Sid Vicious are recruited and the Sex Pistols lift off into popular notoriety.
Along the way, one prominent ally of Jones is SEX employee Chrissie Hynde, an expatriate aspirating singer-songwriter, who despite being a better singer and musician than any individual Pistol, is never given an opportunity by McLaren. Sydney Chandler does an excellent job in channeling Hynde, who would go on to music success with Pretenders. Other well-crafted roles would go to other female characters like McLaren’s partner Vivienne Westwood (Talulah Riley) and punk icon Jordan (Maisie Williams in a standout performance).
Pistol is at once comic, edgy, satirical, bombastic and good nostalgic fun overall. It is clear that the creative people behind this venture had the best intentions and this comes through every single episode. Recommended.
Now streaming on Hulu.
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