‘The Dirt’ Netflix Film Review

March 22, 2019
Maggie -Potter 0
Film, Film Reviews, Netflix


The Dirt is a selective adaptation chronicling the unsavory rise, fall and resurgence of the notorious rock band the Mötley Crüe.



The Dirt is a selective adaptation chronicling the unsavory rise, fall and resurgence of the notorious rock band the Mötley Crüe.

Netflix’s new biopic The Dirt is ultimately an oddly sugar-coated version of the chaotic downfall and ‘noteworthy’ redemption of the unruly band the Mötley Crüe.

The exposé-type novel under the same name The Dirt was first released in 2001, and was an alarming delve into the creation, destruction, and re-rise of the Mötley Crüe. The novel detailed their experiences with drugs, sex, violence and disaster. The Dirt, Netflix’s newest biopic, seems to be a washed down version of the shocking novel, leaving out disturbing and ridiculously immoral events in place of a glorified look into the rock star lifestyle.

In light of the missing controversy, The Dirt is still remarkably provocative in nature; no ten minutes seem to go by without a flash of female nudity or a close up of drug intake. The Dirt clearly aims to cause viewers discomfort and moments of unease as the band take pride in their reckless and unforgiving behaviours. The movie gives audiences a behind the scenes look into one of history’s most notorious rock bands, revealing the sheer magnitude of turmoil and disregard they had for anyone other than themselves.

This being said The Dirt is also a story of redemption. The narrative takes us from the moments the Mötley Crüe was formed all the way up to their break up and ‘comeback’ many years later. The Mötley Crüe were infamous for sure and Netflix have not been stingy when allowing audiences to be privy to the completely irresponsible and alarming behaviours of the band. Even so, the third act of the film is slightly more admirable in tone, focusing on the downfall of the Mötley Crüe. The Dirt begins to show audiences a more vulnerable and sensitive side to the band members. This arc of redemption sets The Dirt to be a more rewarding watch as audiences come to appreciate the pressures and expectations that come from being a member of a band famous for its anarchist ways.

Unfortunately, the above-mentioned redemption feels a little too weak and contrived given the disgraceful way the band treated other people. With this mentioned it is hard not to cover the subject of misogyny and sexism that is prevalent within The Dirt. There are no examples of a positive female character within the entire movie; women are one of the following, devoted groupies, disposable hookers or miserable naggers. When referring back to the novel of the same title it is evident that this approach to women was completely normalised by the Mötley Crüe. Given the current social climate and the #MeToo movement, it may seem a strange idea for Netflix to produce a biopic of a band that seemed to revel in the objectification of women.

On the other hand, The Dirt could be seen as a cautionary tale. Yes, the Mötley Crüe got away with a lot, but they also paid for it in the long run. The Dirt does not just try to glorify the Mötley Crüe’s lifestyles but also shows us what happens when things go wrong. The Dirt also exposes the tragic events that befell the members including Nikki’s relationship with drug abuse, Mick’s slow debilitating disease, and Vince’s manslaughter charge and loss of his 4-year-old daughter to cancer. These stories serve as a warning of the dangers of living life in the fast lane; living life without a care for anyone but yourself and your career can lead to very troubling times.

As with the novel the The Dirt has a reoccurring monologue from each member explaining what led the Mötley Crüe to the situations we see on screen. This was clearly used as a nod to the book but felt frequently out of place and corny. The cinematography was stylish enough for sure, although questionable through what should have been one of the most moving moments of the movie. During the scenes covering the illness of Vince’s daughter, we are met with slow cut-aways to black in an attempt to convey sincerity, but it just came off as overkill in the bid for emotional pull. On the other hand, the cast for The Dirt is perfect, each character is remarkable and convincing; the all-star cast includes SNL‘s Pete Davison, renowned rapper Machine Gun Kelly, and Game of Thrones star Iwan Rheon.

Overall The Dirt was entertaining and compelling enough as the band members learn to depend on each other through times of trauma and heartache. This being said the film is incredibly misogynistic and fails to hold the Mötley Crüe accountable for their treatment of women. On the other hand, The Dirt is a representation of the ideologies of the time, exploring the blatant disregard and normalisation of sexism and male hierarchy. However, the final redemption seems to wash over and quickly forgive any exploitation and wrongdoing the band was involved with in a way that comes across as a dated notion of ‘boys will be boys’. As we know from the novel some of the more shocking and disturbing activities of the band go unmentioned in this Netflix remake. The Mötley Crüe was greatly involved with the film’s production and it is hard not to feel like they have picked and chosen the events they want to be remembered for and quietly left out the unsavory events they did not.

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