SFF 2017 review: The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle

The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle (or Swindle as I shall now refer to it) is a comic detective, business strategy, slightly pornographic mockumentary made in part by its subject; The Sex Pistols.

Narratively, it’s barely comprehensible, as you may have figured from my spot-on synopsis. If you found that confusing, you’re in for something else with the real Swindle.


They say first impressions are the most important and I’d say that’s half true for Swindle. It begins with a whispering Malcolm McLaren doing exactly that; whispering. Which would usually be fine, except the sound design went wrong somewhere and we can’t understand a word he says.


It soon picks up though, as Swindle then propels you into a Victorian-era riot where dummies of The Sex Pistols are being burnt over a bonfire of their own material. At least this part is comprehensible, however you still don’t know what kind of movie you’re watching.

From this point on, I’ve forgotten most of Swindle, I only remember being bombarded with unique sequence after unique sequence and occasionally being able to piece something together.


I feel this film may be the answer to a very simple question; “What is punk?”.

It’s jarring. It’s unapologetic. It’s devoid of explanation. And that’s the point… I think.


Whether I have that correct or not, The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle may be worth watching if you’re a fan of The Sex Pistols. If you are, you may be in heaven watching this film. If you aren’t, you’ll be almost as lost as I was.

I admire it’s creativity but this movie may have done more for The Sex Pistols than it did for me.

2 / 5  Sex Pistols

What did you think of The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle? Were you ever a fan of The Sex Pistols?

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