This niche music documentary features an in-depth behind the scenes look at Sex Pistols’ former lead singer, John Lydon, and the challenging, winding, ever-changing story of his life and band after Sex Pistols; Public Image Ltd. Through this film, viewers follow Lydon as he reviews Public Image Ltd.’s journey from a gnarly art-rock music experiment to a largely influential movement.
This journey is presented in the format of an interview, mostly with John Lydon, who is now sixty-two years old and living in Los Angeles. Shown in his present-day glory (still a charismatic figure with a mad fascination for art and misanthropy and is thicker than he was before and with his head shaved on either side) he eloquently speaks of life after Sex Pistols, with Public Image Ltd. and their ever-changing line-up. He talks of the death of a former bandmate, Sid Vicious, and his own continuing fascination on music, rock, and reggae with heavy beats from a trip in Jamaica, and a life spent aspiring to be the performance art piece that is Johnny Rotten.
More than the music scene, playing with his Public Image Ltd., and his life after the Sex Pistols, he talks of his wife. Johnny Lydon expresses his love and devotion to his wife and his experiences as a child. Through the lens, he speaks of his life and what he has learned from his journey thus far.
Seemingly bare and honest, The Public Image is Rotten does a good job of what it promises to do, and that is to cater to its target audience well.