New Nexflix original shocks audience with retelling of reckless rock ‘n’ roll band Mötley Crüe’s story


This review focuses on mature themes that may not be suitable for some readers.

From the early ’60s all the way through the late ’90s, rockstars ruled the world … or at least the minds of impressionable youth everywhere. Every kid wanted to be one, and anyone who didn’t was a total square. The lifestyle of a rockstar can be summed up in six words: sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. Those same six words perfectly sum up the recently released Netflix original: The Dirt.

This dark comedy focuses on the nitty-gritty partying lifestyle of rockstars, and the effect it had on each band member of the famously reckless Mötley Crüe. Fair warning: there is a lot of nudity and some scenes involving drugs or abuse that may be upsetting for some viewers. Right off the bat the audience is thrown into the middle of a Mötley Crüe party with girls, drugs, drinking and just some old fashion law breaking all over the place. The film does not hesitate to show us what exactly we’re getting ourselves into if we continue to watch, and this opening scene’s promise goes unbroken for the rest of the film.

The Dirt was based off the book The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band, written by the band members themselves — Mick Mars, Nikki Sixx, Tommy Lee and Vince Neil — so you know the story they’re telling is accurate. It shows us the background stories for each member, shows us how the guys got together, shows us how they rose to success and who helped them along the way, shows us all the vices that led to each member’s downfall and what led them all to grow apart, and lastly, it shows us how they came back together in the end to go on to play for another 20 years.

The cast of The Dirt was spot on. Considering I hadn’t seen any publicity for this film, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I discovered the film on the Netflix homepage. However, I was pleasantly surprise to see who played who. On a personal note, I was especially excited to see Machine Gun Kelly playing Tommy Lee. Ever sense Kelly’s break out in the acting scene with Beyond The Lights, I’ve been a huge fan of his, and I can’t wait to see what other projects he goes on to do.

The few, but crucial, aspects that make a historically based movie come to life and keep the viewer entertained were nailed on the head with a hammer in this film. For starters, the setting and costuming were not only accurate — which is not hard to do considering the characters’ outfits and performances already happened in real life — they managed to reintroduce that late ’80s punk aesthetic to the newer generation of kids watching the film on Netflix.

The plot follows the basic format for this type of film. Start with the beginning and end with the end. While no, it isn’t an innovative way to tell a story, it gets the job done, so I will not fault it for that. The one critique that biographical films are almost guaranteed to face is that they only graze the surface of the story, they don’t actually get into all the detail. While this is also the case for “The Dirt,” this complaint can simply be put to rest when taken into account that there is simply not enough time for a 90-long-film to retell a story spanning 20-30 years in great detail. Plus, while diving deep into the most important events of the story, it still manages to briefly dip its toe into some of the lesser known, less relevant but still interesting moments of Mötley Crüe career. Like when we watched an exchange between Ozzy Osbourne, The Prince of Darkness and Mötley Crüe where Ozzy got down on his knees and licked both his, and Nikki Sixx’s fresh urine off the floor. It’s these additions that make the movie stand out as a success, because it’s those scenes that viewers really take away.

The approach the director, Jeff Tremaine, took when shooting this film was well thought out and exiliently executed. He used many different filming strategies that are often overlooked. Take voiceovers for example, voiceovers were used often throughout the film to further along the plot, give more information to a scene that can’t be explained realistically using visuals, and give us a look into the personality and inner monologue of each band member. To add to the more humorous side of the film, Tremaine threw in fourth-wall break after fourth-wall break, which I am personally a huge fan of. He also made regular scenes more enticing by filming them as one long shot, as the camera goes around a room, or a lasting close ups for emotional moments, or first person point of view shots so we can see exactly what it is like to be that character.

Every opportunity that was presented to make The Dirt more fun was seized, and the result is a super entertaining movie about a Mötley Crüe from the ’80s.