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Archive for the ‘Runaways; The’ Category

The Runaways – review

The Runaways – viewed 3/22/10


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“The Runaways” opens with Dakota Fanning’s character, Cherie Currie, standing on the sidewalk across from a “Dog and Fries” drive-up (most likely her next job if she never met Joan Jett). She has just started her first period on the sidewalk, and as drops of blood run down her leg and hit the pavement we realize that the cute child actor of old, is no more. It’s a transformation for her into adult hood. Well it’s this scene and probably the massive amounts of coke that she snorts throughout the course of the film too.

The film focuses mostly on the relationship between Jett and Cherie. Following their initial meeting, formation, sexual relationship and of course ultimate dissolution of the band. Jett is played adequately by Kristen Stewart of “Twilight” fame. Stewart plays a brooding version of Jett, but doesn’t come off with the aggressive vigor that she should have. The bright, smoking bright point, is Fanning’s portrayal of lead singer Cherie Currie. This is really a role that showcases the serious talent behind a young actress, who is finally stepping into some adult roles. She is mind-blowing as the pill-popping and sexually charged front woman. At just 16 years of age Fanning is truly showing that she will be around for a long time to come in Hollywood, and makes the film work in every way. Big props to both of the girls though for learning how to play their instruments, and for Fanning doing all the singing on the tracks.

“The Runaways” doesn’t really do anything new as far as the structure of telling the rise and fall of a band, but that didn’t bother me at all because of the way it was told, and the way the film was shot. The girls start out as nobody’s, they rise to fame, drugs get involved, they end up hating each other, it’s pretty much the story of every famous band disaster. As the lives of the bandmates spin out of control the film starts to spin out of control as well, and I mean that in a good way. The scenes become grittier, darker, dimmer, and swirl together as the drugs continue to run rampant. This is the first feature film for director Floria Sigismondi, who is best known for her work in music videos, and really is a fantastic debut. You can see her experience as a music video director popping up everywhere, especially later in the film.

The one minor hiccup in the film, is the almost shear absence of Lita Ford’s character. She seems to be thrown in there almost as an after-thought. It would have been nice to see a little bit more about her role in the band. This may have to do with the fact that Jett helped produce the film, and from what I understand she doesn’t get along with Ford to this day. I guess if you can’t say something nice about someone then don’t say it all?

I can’t say enough about how great Fanning is in the film, and it is really shocking to me. “The Runaways” would be an above mediocre film with someone else in the lead role, but she turns it into one of the best films I’ve seen so far in this young year.

Grade: B+