I hate the fact that I have to say this: The Rocky Horror Picture Show no longer counts as a cult film. Once Glee had an episode dedicated to it, RHPS became as mainstream as it could get. With throngs of teenagers now going crazy for the Glee cast recording of the Time Warp, it is time to find the spiritual successor to the world-changing 1975 film. That film is Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
Hedwig was born as a young boy named Hansel in East Berlin just after the construction of the Berlin Wall, and is now the singer and frontwoman for rock band the Angry Inch. They are on tour following another artist, Tommy Gnosis, whom Hedwig rightfully claims has stolen all of her songs.
Hedwig’s songs are in fact the story of her life, from her early days as a boy in love with rock music to her botched gender reassignment surgery (which left her with a one inch mound of flesh where her penis was and vagina was supposed to be) and her quest to confront Gnosis.
Just like many films before it, including Rent and Mamma Mia!, Hedwig and the Angry Inch started off as a stage show in New York City. This allows the film to have a very live production-like feel to it at all times, especially as the character of Hedwig is played by the original cast member, John Cameron Mitchell. His movements are not what is usually seen in a movie. They are far more fluid and dance-like, which combined with the costumes creates a swirl of colours that just draws you further into the story.
The music really is something else. During the first run of the stage show, the songs were simply covers with new lyrics, but as time progressed, they were changed to original songs, written by Stephen Trask (who scored Dreamgirls) which remained for the film. The songs are mostly rock-based, but many have country, blues and folk influences.
To put it simply, Hedwig and the Angry Inch is awesome. The songs are everything one comes to expect from what can be referred to as a rock opera, the costumes are a wonder to look at and the acting in general could not be better.
Hedwig is a must see, for everyone (over the age of 13).
Directed by: John Cameron Mitchell, 2001
Starring: John Cameron Mitchell, Stephen Trask and Andrea Martin