The Runaways (2010)

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Floria Sigismondi directs Dakota Fanning, Kristen Stewart and Michael Shannon in this rise and fall biopic of 1970’s all girl rock sensations The Runaways.

OK… so as a narrative this isn’t going to blow anyone’s socks off. If I asked you what you would expect from such a film, and you scribbled your ten cliched expectations on the back of a fag packet and then we ticked each off as they came to pass…. Well… you’d struggle not to get 10 ticks. Let’s sidestep that, as you wouldn’t criticise The Magnificent Seven or say The Fugitive for doing exactly what they say on their tins. What Sigismondi brings to the endeavour is a constantly coulourful beat (the motions are at the very least gone through at an apt punkish pace) and an unjudgemental eye on the debauchery and rebellion – whether huffing glue, roadies or each other, it is all painted positively as kids having fun and exploring new experiences. The eventual fall of one character is down to the nature of the business rather than punishment for any “sin”, in fact it closes on a feeling quite close to the penultimate shot of Goodfellas or Mike Milligan’s cruelly mundane “reward” in the last episode of Season 2 of Fargo. What really punts this into a watchable experience though is a brilliant turn from Shannon (no surprises there). His punk impresario Kim Fowley is a fucking on uppers belter of a performance – villian, preacher, fairy godmother, coach of the underdogs, rooster in eyeliner, right in your face. Stewart does her usual winning vulnerable, shy, tough schtick in the mid-background too.

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