Filmmaker Julien Temple has set himself up as the pre-eminent cinematic chronicler of post-war British counterculture. He made not one but three films about The Sex Pistols.
He made the definitive documentary on the life of Joe Strummer. He fictionalised and mythologised the arrival of rock ‘n’ roll in England with Absolute Beginners, lionised both Ray and Dave Davies, and set the record straight on Britain’s most famous music festival with the 2006 doco, Glastonbury. Add in music videos for pretty much everyone, and it’s not a bad résumé.
But Temple’s most difficult project was his latest: Crock of Gold – A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan, a look at the life and career of the legendary Pogues frontman. As famous for his belligerence and boozing as his sublime songwriting, MacGowan balked at a conventional documentary, so what we get instead is a series of conversations between the rotten-toothed raconteur and the likes of Johnny Depp (who also produces), Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie, and even former Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams, with animation and archival footage rounding out the story.