Keeva Stratton, Quip Creative
Directed by: Floria Sigismondi
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Dakota Fanning, Michael Shannon
Sex, drugs and rock n\’ roll â€“ think you\’ve seen it all before? Think again. This is the feisty story surrounding the making and rise of the first American teen girl rock group The Runaways â€“ and while much of the story follows the tried and true rock film formula, there is something quite different, or perhaps a little shocking, about a group of girls who were so very young and yet asked to exploit so much of themselves, in order to be the first big all-girl rock band.
The music is throbbing, the action fast, and story is edgy and sexy, but there is a darker undercurrent to this tale, which shows the sad dysfunctional lives that these girls attempted to escape through music, only to run headlong into sex and drugs at a soul destroying level. Exploited for their looks, and asked to endure aggressive audiences, low pay and a tirade of abuse, these girls found fame as the only (double-edged) reward â€“ and as history (and their memoirs) will tell you, it didn\’t work for every one.
The film is based on the book by former band member Cherie Currie (played in the film by Dakota Fanning), and offers an interesting look into the making and breaking of this young band, from her perspective. Glossed up with some girl-on-girl action and a sleazy portrayal of band manager Kim Fowley (played by Michael Shannon), the film has had its share of critics, but few would argue that it provides an entertaining account of this seminal group.
Despite concerns over her Twilight typecasting, Kristen Stewart is well cast as the gutsy Joan Jett â€“ and Dakota Fanning as Cherie Currie provides a willowy and ethereal performance that acts as a fine counterbalance. The two leads are a large part of the film\’s success, as their performances elevate an at-times dry script to a more punchy display. Those who enjoyed Almost Famous will certainly find this film appealing, as it engages with similar nostalgic and female empowering themes.
The soundtrack, which features original Runaways hits as well as some of Joan Jett\’s later solo work, also serves to enrich the film, and to remind us of just how fabulous some of the music from this era really was. If the Runaways does little else but bring this music forward to the Twilight generation, it will have served its purpose.
In cinemas now.
Category: Film & TV