Monday, 26 July 2010

DVD Review: The Runaways

Picture this: the 70's; rock 'n' roll; an all girl band. Chaos! Females should never be flaunting their bits on stage whilst singing, and potentially screaming, to loud, ball-busting songs featuring hardcore, explicit lyrics. Well, The Runaways defied all rules and, while it lasted, were successful.

Leaving The Twilight Saga behind for a short time, Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart team to form the two prominent band members of The Runaways, an all girl rock band whose influential presence and catchy tunes spun worldwide success, but sadly only lasted between 1975-1979.

Music video director Floria Sigismondi helms the coming-of-age biopic, but does her lack of direction of feature films weigh the film down? Unfortunately, it shows. Fortunately, the story of The Runaways outweighs the faults which Sigismondo casts. A raw insight into the music industry is given but, much like the porn industry featured in Boogie Nights, isn't as smooth sailing as most would think.

Deceived by their unusual manager Kim Fowley (played exceptionally by Michael Shannon), the typical lies and promises force Joan Jett (Stewart), the hard-edged guitarist, and Cherie Currie (Fanning), a dysfunctional young girl/vocalist, reeling from a multitude of false pretenses, with their success and all-round fame plummeting before they had a chance to fully enjoy the limelight.

The now grown-up child star Dakota Fanning makes an absolutely jaw-dropping turn as Currie, a somewhat isolated individual whose style is a partial reminiscent of Brigitte Bardot. Washing away her innocent presence she's fallen to over the years, the coke-sniffing, drunk, foul-mouthed Fanning is an unarguably refreshing turn which will undeniably do wonders on her resumé, and completely overshadows Stewart. While still performing admirably, Stewart's distinct need to pout and act with her predictably monotonous tone rears it's ugly head. Still, despite her flaws, her acting is genuine and, like Fanning, Jett is a character which is unfamiliar territory. Jett is an almost perfect antidote to the broody, soft Bella that she is mostly known for playing. Both performances are invigorating and surprisingly deep.

Classic tracks such as "Cherrybomb" are re-vamped with lyrics by Fanning and Stewart which are a sheer delight, despite their short screen appearance. Catchy and downright enthusiastic, they stand firm as one of the film's highlights.

Disregarding the film's abrupt ending and partially false conclusion, The Runaways is a perfectly enjoyable biopic, full of zealous performances and a punk-infused storyline that will provide enough nostalgia to all those familiar with the 70's and the peculiar fads it contained.


The Runaways is now available on DVD/Blu-ray in the US, and receives a general release in the UK on August 27th.

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