In this film the spotlight is on Shane MacGowan, the leader of the punk Irish band Pogues. MacGowan turned out to be a difficult character to interview, according to the director, but that made room for the film to portray his irreverence and essence, using archival footage and testimonies from people like his sister, Siobhan, his father, Maurice, and Gerry Adams, the former president of the Sinn Féin political party, in inventive and playful ways.
Beer and cigarettes, whisky and cigarettes, Irish folk and punk rock (and more whisky, beer and more cigarettes). Shane McGowan, a self-destructive hellraiser and inspired poet, an infectious performer, was as leader of the Pogues one of the greatest characters to emerge from punk, imagining a new universe within it, one where its energy and rebellious spirit placed itself along the broader lineage of Irish poetry and traditional music. Directed by Julien Temple, a man also up brought in punk (he was first noticed when he pointed his camera towards The Sex Pistols), Crock of Gold is at first, following McGowan’s early life, a history of Ireland and its context as a nation facing its powerful neighbor and ancient colonizer, England. Afterwards, it sets its sights in the epic and turbulent ascent of the Pogues singer to the beating heart of popular culture, in London. Mixing archival footage and animated sequences, interviews with McGowan and a diverse gallery of people (from Elvis Costello to Gerry Adams, the former President of Sinn Féin, from Nick Cave to Bobby Gillespie), Temple paints a wide and fair portrait. Refusing to condescend to the hagiography and petty morals, it introduces us a man of unquestionable genius, unshakably faithful to its principles. A contradictory man, at once hostage and tyrant of his demons. The body will pay cruelly, but the spirit remains stubbornly free. (Mário Lopes)
Julien Temple was born on November 26, 1953 in London, England. He is a director and writer, known for Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan (2020), Earth Girls Are Easy (1988) and Vigo: A Passion for Life (1998).