Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Reviewed by Jul 25th, 2001

After a year of hearing about this movie, I finally broke down and bought it sight unseen. I wasn’t feeling very well that day, so I popped it in the VCR and watched it. And watched it again. The next day, I watched it a third time. I wanted to like to this movie. Everyone who’s told me about it seemed to like it, and the premise seemed promising: An Iggy Pop and David Bowie-obsessed boy from East Berlin gets a botched sex change operation, then goes to America to seek rock stardom and his “other half.”

But as the movie started up, I noticed that something was wrong. The music sucked! Well, not outright, but it was a bit sub-par (though the song set in the trailer park was impressive). I wouldn’t be so hard on the music, if it weren’t featured too prominently. After all, it’s a musical. But unlike the musicals it’s been compared to (Rocky Horror comes to mind), the music sort of detracts from the story at times. I’m probably weighing all this unfairly, because much of the dialogue was brilliant and I wanted more of it. There were a couple of plot holes that bothered me, i.e., the movie never explains how Hedwig ditched her band of “Korean Army wives” in favor of her mostly androgynous band throughoout the movie, The Angry Inch.

All this being said, I have to say that most of the acting was good, particularly writer/director/star John Cameron Mitchell as Hedwig. There is also some nice, low-tech, very stylized animation. A lot of very cool imagery is presented here. the pacing is pretty good considering the mishmashed “plot,” and once again I must praise the non-musical parts. There are some great scenes of young Hedwig in his mother’s apartment in East Berlin, which was “so small he had to play in the oven.”

At any rate, it’s worth a watch. And who knows, your opinion on the quality of the soundtrack may differ from mine. Flawed, but still quite entertaining.

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