Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Directed by John Cameron Mitchell
Review by Evelyn Gildrie-Voyles <firstname.lastname@example.org>
John Cameron Mitchell is a superstar. OK, so not a lot of people outside of New York and the theatre world know who he is. It doesn't matter. He is the greatest unknown megastar in the world. Go see the movie Hedwig and The Angry Inch and you'll see what I mean.
Hedwig and the Angry Inch started out as a small show created by Mitchell and composer/lyricist Stephen Trask. It grew into a much-lauded and heavily awarded Off-Broadway hit. It is now a mesmerizing rock and roll movie musical that chronicles the life and "US tour" of the "internationally ignored" Hedwig, a transsexual rock singer whose botched sex change operation left her with an inch of flesh where her sex organs should be. That is as much of the plot as I'm going to give you, because part of the wonder of this movie is how the story is revealed: through Hedwig's songs, monologues, and flashbacks.
The acting is fantastic. Mitchell as Hedwig is indescribably incredible. He has a beautiful voice and incredible emotional depth. Miriam Shor as Hedwig's right-hand man and Michael Pitt as famous rock star Tommy Gnosis stand up very well to Mitchell's amazing presence and offer excellent performances. Special mention must go to Ben Mayer-Goodman who plays Hedwig as a little boy. I've never seen a young actor move with such abandon and joy on the screen. The band (Stephen Trask, Theodore Liscinski, Rob Campbell and Michael Aranov) kicks ass. Stephen Trask's music ranges from sweet ballads to hard core punk rock and is very catchy. You will leave the movie theatre screaming the lyrics to "Angry Inch", I guarantee it.
The visuals are also outstanding. The costume design' by Arianne Phillips and the hair and makeup created by Debra Johnson, Mary Monforte and Mike Potter are endlessly entertaining in their own right.
Besides being a dynamite performer, Mitchell is a damn good director. He won Best Director at the Sundance Film Festival, where Hedwig and the Angry Inch also won the Audience Award. Only at the very end does the movie get unforgivably arty and for that I knocked it down half a star. But for the rest and especially for John Cameron Mitchell himself, the movie MUST BE SEEN.
For more information, go to the Internet Movie Database:
Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001)
Video Pick of the Week
Guide to Star Ratings