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  Violet & Daisy Violent and Dozy
Year: 2011
Director: Geoffrey Fletcher
Stars: Saoirse Ronan, Alexis Bledel, James Gandolfini, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Danny Trejo, Tatiana Maslany, Cassidy Hinkle, Lynda Gravatt, Cody Horn, John Ventimiglia, Stu 'Large' Riley, Neville Archambault, Christopher Jon Gombos
Genre: Drama, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Violet (Alexis Bledel) and Daisy (Saoirse Ronan) are best friends who have been let down today when they see that the concert set to play in town featuring their favourite pop star has been cancelled. Swallowing their disappointment they have a job to do, for they are teenage hitgirls who have dressed up as nuns delivering pizzas to gain access to their target, their guns hidden in the boxes. Surviving a hail of bullets is something they do as a matter of course, but they are more interested in their leisure time this murderous occupation allows them to enjoy, and when their boss contacts them with another hit, they are reluctant until they realise they need the cash...

Violet & Daisy was the brainchild of Geoffrey Fletcher, the first black man to win an Academy Award for screenwriting, so you might have thought it would be anticipated, if not highly, then with at least a strong degree of interest. However, that wasn't the case as it was given a perfunctory release in a handful of cinemas then crept out on home video a few years after it had been completed, with very little reaction and not much acclaim either, and on viewing it you could see why. This was not, as it had been advertised, a riproaring assassin thriller, it was actually using those conventions to tell a muted story of coming to terms with the flaws in others no matter how they had let you down.

In fact, a lot of the attention, relatively speaking, went to Bledel for her role as a teenager essayed when she was nearly thirty: were there no other teenagers of Ronan's calibre who could have filled the part adequately, the naysayers objected? Although she did look older than her co-star, Bledel's genuine age didn't matter too much assuming you were willing to suspend disbelief, which you would have done the second the most pressing question crossed your mind, which was why would anyone hire this pair to do their dirty work for them when their personalities were far from conducive to carrying out their tasks?

Sure, we see them at the beginning gunning down a bunch of gun-toting bad guys with Hong Kong action movie aplomb, but ten minutes after that is a different story. That was because of the other attention-getter in the film, who was by the time this was out to view in the wider world, the late James Gandolfini playing Violet and Daisy's latest contract. When they arrive at his apartment after the brief distraction of a Danny Trejo cameo which comes close to being the highlight, they find he is out and so settle down to wait for him, then... fall asleep! That's not very professional, is it? What was this, Goldilocks and the Three Bears? When sad, kindly Daddy Bear returns, he neglects the porridge (though homebaked cookies are involved) and tucks the girls in under a blanket then drops off to slumber himself.

So there you go, a plot where the main characters have duly fallen asleep which does not speak to thrills in spite of the occasional bursts of bloody violence that dotted the drama. Once they've woken up, they get to talking and the assassins find out he is Michael, a terminal cancer patient who is estranged from his daughter (Tatiana Maslany, who appears in a photograph then for just over thirty seconds at the end) and Daisy's heart goes out to him. Turns out he wants to be bumped off to save himself a protracted demise, and the rest of this plays out as drawn out conversations as if Fletcher was wanting to put that most hackneyed of styles, the Quentin Tarantino chatty thriller (there are even chapter cards), into effect for yet another unwanted runaround - even Tarantino wasn't making those by the point this was out. Add in a dream sequence which was arresting if unilluminating and the process of the two heroines growing up and leaving the bloodlust behind them and you had a drowsy and oddly flavourless drama which seemed to have gotten away from its makers.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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