Review: Violet & Daisy
PLOT: VIOLET AND DAISY want what every teenage girl wants, great clothes and an awesomely cool BFF. Yet the two leads in this quirky new flick donít get paid the usual way, they happen to be contract killers. However when they meet their latest target, he affects them unlike any of their other hits before. Ah the pains of growing up!
In the oh-so-very-quirky new flick VIOLET AND DAISY, two young hit-girls find their lives changed by a man they are hired to kill. When they arrive at his place with plans to off this poor slob, they fall asleep on his couch. As they awake they find the gentleman all too agreeable to let the disarmingly sweet duo do him in. What are his reasons to face death head on? Will the girlís finally get the dress that they plan to buy with the money from this gig? Will their lives become richer from this fateful meeting? Truth be told, this story is far too in love with its own adorable nature to really be satisfying.
The two girls are played with honest to goodness charm by the very talented Saoirse Ronan and Alexis Bledel. As Violet (Bledel) and Daisy (Ronan), the two have a sincerely delightful connection even if the idea that they kill people for a living makes the recent FAST AND FURIOUS 6 look as realistic as a documentary. Their occupation clearly is played with tongue firmly planted in cheek, yet it simply feels as if we are watching two young girls play dress up with their loving father Ė the man they are hired to kill is played by James Gandolfini. This is a talented cast, even when they are asked to play up the silliness of the situation by playing pat-a-cake or hopscotching through this cutesy script.
In his feature film debut, writer/director Geoffrey Fletcher brings a whole lot more playful humor than he did in the screenplay for PRECIOUS Ė for that I am grateful. Of course, VIOLET & DAISY is a far more fanciful idea than an overweight woman growing up under an abusive mother. Even though there are a number of killings and even a little blood in his latest, it is spirited (to a fault). As good as the actors are here, the childish nature is off-putting without showing any real depth into why these two young girls are contract killers. The script skips along presenting moments that may possibly give insight into his leading ladies; however it canít quite escape the manipulatively childlike nature that is much too sugar-coated sweet and trivial to bother.
Visually speaking, this art house feature film is visually striking. Considering much of the action takes place in Michaelís (Gandalfini) apartment, Fletcher gives this gal pal feature a little flair. The first time director even creates a surprisingly memorable assassin scene when it comes to another group of ruffians ready to do some serious damage to poor Michael. Itís a little bit KICK-ASS with a touch of HEAVENLY CREATURES and he is able to capture a few impressive moments along the way. There are moments throughout that nearly pulled me into this strange and dippy world of teen killers and pop star idolism Ė the reason the two girls take on this particular job is to buy the hot new dress from some teen sensation.
VIOLET & DAISY occasionally works thanks to Ronan, Bledel and Gandalfini. As well, Fletcher shows some definite style as a director that might have worked better had the script not felt so superficial. It tries to be a dark comedy with shades of HEATHERS but it never completely works. The childlike behavior of the two leads with the absolutely insufferably dumb moments where characters make the worst possible choices never really helps this feature rise above kitsch. There are far better movies that deal with angsty teens in a pop art infused world that make this feel empty and dull. The three impressive leads deserved better.
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