TrustMovies is hazarding a guess here, but he'd say that in the annals of "filmdom" (especially film-dumb) there is little that's more difficult to manage than a movie about perky, adorable teen-age girls who earn their keep as paid assassins. Not that we've had all that many examples of this, of course. But movies featuring heroes and/or heroines with occupations generally loathed by society have some trouble reaching mainstream audiences. (This helps account for the fact that Arbitrage, extremely well-done and with an award-worthy performance from Richard Gere, did so little business theatrically: "Don't you dare make me sympathize with or understand a character like that!")
VIOLET & DAISY, that marks the film-making debut of Geoffrey Fletcher (who earlier adapted the screenplay for Precious, won an Oscar for his trouble, and here both writes and directs from his own original screenplay). Wisely, I think, Fletcher has set his tale of these kiddie killers in the slightly distant future, when humanity has given over almost entirely to "celebrity-hood," thus renouncing much of what makes it human. This helps somewhat bridge that large gap between watching horrendous deeds urfurl and having sympathy for the characters who are carrying them out.
Alexis Bledel (the brunettes in the photos above) and Saoirse Ronan (the blond). Ms Ronan (of Hanna fame and lots else) has had some experience playing an assassin, but this is a first for Ms Bledel. Both young ladies take to it like killer pros. They're cute as buttons and utterly believable, too: alternately delighted, sad, frightened and surprised.
James Gandolfini, who is -- surprise! -- wonderful again here, too. The movie is mostly a pas de trois between these characters, and no one misses a beat nor a step. They play so well together that you may want to see the film a second time simply to watch some terrific, moment-to-moment acting.
John Ventimiglia (above) as the head bad guy. He's as good as always, and his fine use of deadpan (and later just dead) helps the movie easily gloss over the bloody parts. (Ah, the internal-bleeding dance!) Fletcher's ability to give us these in bright red, while making us laugh at the same time, shows expert comic ability -- culminating in a bathtub full of corpses (below, and I think that's Ventimiglia, the second body down) that makes for a memorably goofy/ghastly image. There's a very funny little shower scene, as well (shown two photos below).
Cirque du Soleil.
Cinedigm and running just 88 minutes, opens this Friday, June 7, in 15 cities across the country. Consult the poster above for currently scheduled playdates.