This was the beginning of a trend I have already discussed at great length, and that forged the start of the road that would lead us to Book of Mormon. Even before Urinetown conquered Broadway, this was the first of the truly bizarre off-Broadway pieces to move into the mainstream. Shows like this had existed for ages, but only as an extremely isolated cult scene. Granted, the movie version of Hedwig was an independent film of limited publicity, but the home video made of it allowed it a vastly larger audience than its localized production in off-Broadway theater. It may still have been essentially a cult item, but its cult was now a cult of an entirely different magnitude. Of course, the first items in a trend are rarely the most flawless, and like Urinetown, this show still has its teething errors to work out. This is an extraordinarily strange story, and thanks to its odd presentation and use of anachronic order, a somewhat confusing one as well. Especially hard to interpret in the film’s surreal fadeout, which is so incongruous with the rest of the film that it has given rise to a number of very creative fan theories trying to reconcile it with what came before. But in the end, two things make this film well worth your time. The first is an excellent and varied score that offers one of the most authentic tastes of the rock idiom ever featured in a theater musical. The other is the show’s creator and star, John Cameron Mitchell. Wisely retained from the stage production, Mitchell gives a mesmerizing and monolithic performance as the titular transgendered rock star that quite honestly ranks with the greatest performances in the history of musical theater. This is far from a perfect film, but it is far too interesting, too musically impressive, and too brilliantly performed to pass up if you have any interest in the musical as a genre.