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Wake Up Punk

  • Film
  • 2 out of 5 stars
Wake Up Punk
Photograph: Republic Film Distribution
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Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

This punk rock doc about the son of Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren is loud but hollow

​​In 2016, Joe Corré, son of Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren, announced that he planned to burn a trove of unique memorabilia, including some of his mum’s designs, in protest against the commodification of punk and climate change. The stunt inevitably prompted outrage. Corré (who, like Roderick Spode in PG Wodehouse, designs ladies’ undies) is a mass of contradictions, but that’s understandable. For all its anti-capitalism, punk always commodified itself, since McLaren and Westwood first opened a shop. The tabloid stories around Corré’s destruction focused on the hoard’s value (about £5 million) far more than its significance as examples of one of the country’s most vital female designers (priceless). 

Wake Up Punk should be good. It isn’t. Like Corré’s stunt – a hybrid of the Sex Pistols’ Thames boat party and the KLF’s Scottish money-torching – Nigel Askew’s doc is derivative and sloppy. Corré and his PR in a big hat seem to have no real goal except to provoke. Worst of all are scenes in which plummy white stage-school kids dress up as Dickensian waifs and discuss the problems with ‘the establishment’. 

Joe Corré and his PR in a big hat seem to have no real goal except to provoke

If there’s anything Victorian here, it’s not the UK’s still-teeming underclass, but the antics of these squabbling cultural aristos with their petty slights, arguments about inheritance, big houses and offensive clothes. Whether Corré really did set fire to his mum’s legacy is almost academic. Once again, it’s the spoilt brats who have the last word. 

In UK cinemas May 5.

Chris Waywell
Written by
Chris Waywell

Cast and crew

  • Director:Nigel Askew
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