Performance | EW.com

Movies

Performance It sounds like the plot of a concept album: After East London gangster Chas (the fantastically imperturbable James Fox) kills a man against his boss'...PerformancePT105MR It sounds like the plot of a concept album: After East London gangster Chas (the fantastically imperturbable James Fox) kills a man against his boss'...2007-02-09Warner Home Video
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Performance

Starring: James Fox, Mick Jagger; Director: Donald Cammell; Author: Donald Cammell; Runtime (in minutes): 105; MPAA Rating: R; Distributor: Warner Home Video

It sounds like the plot of a concept album: After East London gangster Chas (the fantastically imperturbable James Fox) kills a man against his boss’ orders, he poses as a juggler and hides out in the Notting Hill home of hermetic rock star Turner (dazed and dandy Mick Jagger), where he dons a wig and eats mushrooms. But an album can’t offer seizure-inducing edits or extreme close-ups of nipples, so Donald Cammell and Nicolas Roeg made Performance (R, 105 mins., 1970). Forty minutes of a great, hard-edged gangster movie (its cockney slang and casual brutality anticipate the 1971 cult classic Get Carter) morph briefly into a droll fish-out-of-water comedy before the drugs — and the obfuscatory references — kick in. Its midnight-movie bona fides include quotable lines (”Goodbye the Ferrari!”), the first Mick Jagger music video (”Memo From Turner”), and Anita Pallenberg (above, with Jagger). If, as Turner tells Chas, ”the only performance that makes it…all the way is the one that achieves madness” — well, Performance makes it all the way.