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Mayfair Hotel London 31 August 2011

God Bless Ozzy Osbourne

When I first heard that Ozzy's son Jack Osbourne, along with directors Mike Fliess and Mike Piscitelli, had made a film on the Prince Of Darkness, my immediate thoughts was that this was simply going to be the film version of the 'Osbournes' throwing the family name into the spotlight once more with more tales of drunken tomfoolery and crazy antics. How wrong was I?

What we get to witness with this documentation is not only the legend and myth of Ozzy Osbourne, the godfather of metal, but also the real Ozzy, simply known to family and friends as John.

Like most recent films on the biggest names of metal, if you want to show the world how much of a global act you are, then you start the film with live footage in front of a rabid South American audience.

There are some behind the scenes footage with Ozzy preparing his voice ready for the show.  The curtain falls and the madness begins.

The story unfolds of Ozzy's early life in post war industrial area of Aston, Birmingham with Ozzy sitting at a dining table rummaging through photographs of his family where he talks fondly of his father. A major inspiration to the young Ozzy teaching him the values of working hard and putting meals on the table for the family.

Upon leaving school the thought of spending the rest of his life working in the factories didn't appeal to Ozzy who could only dream of the rock star lifestyle, with The Beatles being the main inspiration.

There are some great insights into the early days of Black Sabbath with some great anecdotes from Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward. The history of Sabbath can't be told without mentioning that cocaine and alcohol abuse played a major part in the downfall of that great band.

Even his first marriage to Thelma Mayfair gets a rare mention whilst his children from that time, Jessica and Louis, talk openly and frankly about life with their father and what they say certainly destroys the myth of what it's like to have a celebrity father.

His relationship with his manager and second wife Sharon is laid bare, with his daughter Aimee making a rare appearence in front of the cameras.

Later on in the film there are some shocking photos of Sharon with black eyes following a drunken night when Ozzy got arrested and was almost charged for attempted murder.

His time following being sacked from Sabbath and being dragged from the depths of despair by Sharon to start a solo career is also well documented, although only bassist Rudy Sarzo gets to be interviewed talking about the aftermath of when guitarist Randy Rhoads tragically lost his life in an aeroplane prank that went wrong.

The mood lightens up with a story from Motley Crue's Tommy Lee. We've all heard about the snorting ants incident but Lee delves further telling a stomach churning story about Ozzy crapping in a hotel room and smearing the results with his bare hands all over the walls. Sir Paul McCartney tactfully chooses to talk about the music of Ozzy.

Ozzy's battles with alcoholism have been well documented over the years but this film brings all the skeletons out of the closet and you now see Ozzy enjoying his sobriety and the sheer enjoyment he still gets out of performing on stage to a adoring crowd.

They don't make rock stars like Ozzy Osbourne anymore and thankfully we still get to enjoy his exploits to this day. God Bless Ozzy Osbourne.

The film can be seen at VUE cinemas nationwide here in the UK on September 16th & 22nd only

Review by Mark Taylor

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