Hedwig and the Angry Inch follows the lead singer of an East Berlin punk rock band, who also happens to be a transsexual, and who's name is part of the main title, Hedwig. Hedwig tells us much of her life story, as well partially dipping into the life of her ex- boyfriend/band mate, who has since stolen many of her songs, and risen to some fame.
Coming from John Cameron Mitchell who as a director/actor I never usually hesitate to praise, it's rather surprising of how disappointing Hedwig and the Angry Inch turned out to be. Amongst it's many issues is an unexpectedly messy narrative, and besides from Hedwig herself, a relatively weak attempt at character development. Sadly this is a common result with many musicals; having a great movie making potential, mixed with fantastic music, and thrown into a film that relies on this aspect too much, and not enough in the ways of actual story telling.
Despite its numerous efforts, Hedwig and the Angry Inch often fails to fully capture you in its grasp. Considering my highly positive opinion of John Cameron Mitchell's later masterpiece Shortbus, it does make me wonder whether this was a legitimate attempt at quality film making, or just an excuse for John Cameron Mitchell to sing, and dress in drag.
In conclusion, as much as I love the soundtrack, and as passionately vibrant as this film can be; Hedwig and the Angry Inch often feels lost in it's own direction, as if it was an idea discussed at a pub, and then all thrown together at the last minute. Just like with the film Grease; why buy the movie, when you buy soundtrack ?
OFLC (Office of Film and Literature Classification) rating: