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Marina Antunes [Celluloid 06.05.13] action comedy drama crime

Having seen Geoffrey Fletcher's feature film debut Violet & Daisy, it's little surprise the movie fell by the wayside after its Toronto Film Festival premiere in 2011. It's an interesting concept, the story of assassins who are both immature teens and hardened criminals, except that when they're faced with a job that isn't quite run of the mill, their entire world is careened off course. The problem is that the movie, which Fletcher also wrote, is far too concerned about being "different" and "smart" leaving cohesive storytelling by the wayside.

Violet and Daisy, Alexis Bledel and Saoirse Ronan respectively, are killers for hire, working for a Charlie's Angels type who contacts them with prospective jobs. They're supposed to be on vacation when a call comes in for what sounds like an easy hit and desperate for a bit of cash to buy some fabulous new dresses from their oh so favourite human being Barbie Sunday, the duo take the job.

Turns out that Michael (James Gandolfini) got himself into this situation with the bad guys on purpose. Death by Mobsters apparently sounded better than death by illness and so he stole some stuff he wasn't supposed to in an effort to get himself offed. What he didn't expect was for the bad guys to send two girls to take him out, two girls who fall asleep on his couch. Their encounter changes all three characters in significant ways, but the process is so convoluted with self importance that it grinds the movie to a near complete stop.

Violet has odd dreams that are supposed to provide some profound insight into her psyche but which don't seem to have any bearing to anything we've learned about the character while Daisy is clearly the more infantile of the pair, making small talk and befriending Michael, learning a few details about his life which make her question his murder. He's intended to play the father figure to a girl who obviously doesn't have any family but the entire thing feels cold and emotionless, regardless of the fact that Gandolfini looks like he's going to break out in tears at any moment; sort of odd for a man best known for playing bad asses. I guess the goal was to cast against type but here, it doesn't work.

With it's oddly titled sections and the odder editing, the movie doesn't only cut between Violet and Daisy and the action which unfolds when the two aren't together but also in time, in and out of conversations (sometimes partway through them) to deliver some tidbit of information, Violet & Daisy tries really hard to be innovative but the attempt falls short turning an already mediocre story into something which is nearly unwatchable. It's a huge disappointment considering the talent involved but both Bledel and Ronan, both great actresses with range, seem lost.

With all of its problems, of which there are many, the real killer for Violet & Daisy is the pacing. What starts off as a promising crime dramedy never manages to get off the ground and though there are a few amusing moments, Daisy's handling of some bad guys before her partner swoops in to save the day is amusing, the movie never manages to find its footing and worse still, it doesn't make good use of the talent involved. It's a total mess, one better left unwatched.

Violet & Daisy opens June 7th.

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j.j. (9 years ago) Reply

Alexis Bledel has made some shockingly bad career decisions since her breakthrough in Sin City. If i were her, I'd fire my manager.


Marina (9 years ago) Reply

You're absolutely right J.J. I'm more surprised about Ronana. Her work over the last few years has been great. Except for this.


agentorange (9 years ago) Reply

My take:
Violet & Daisy plays like an unearthed 90s movie; the post-Tarantino kind where normal people are assassins and engage in witty banter in one room.

It's not without its fun, but if Bledel and Ronan weren't so charming the film would have been really tedious.

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