Friday, 9 July 2010


Hoyts Distribution
Now Showing

I'd never heard of The Runaways, the all-girl rock group fronted by Cherie Currie and boasting guitarist Joan Jett, before this film. Jett I had heard of: who doesn't know her signature tune I Love Rock and Roll? That was a post-Runaways hit for Jett, once the girls had crashed and burned after indulging in the excesses of the 1970s rock scene.

Those scenes of excess, which include all manner of drug use and some girl-on-girl action in Floria Sigismondi's film, may disturb some who only know Dakota Fanning (who plays Currie) and Kristen Stewart (as Jett) from their more "innocent" film roles; it certainly feels like only yesterday that Fanning was on the farm with Wilbur the pig in Charlotte's Web.

These are two of the most impressive young actresses working today (in spite of their efforts in the Twilight films) and it's fascinating to watch their evolution. Less fascinating is other people's drug-fuelled trips. Like being at a pub and the only one not drinking, watching other people's intoxicated behviour can only sustain one's interest for so long, and so it is here.

But there's always the music of The Runaways (Fanning and Stewart do their own singing) to keep you entertained, and the seemingly authentic portrayal of the '70s music scene. And there's Michael Shannon (an Oscar nominee for Revolutionary Road) who chews scenery in his portrayal of manager Kim Fowley. Fowley is the kind of guy who has the neighbourhood kids throw beer bottles and dog poo at the girls as they rehearse for gigs.

He also sends them out on the road, more or less to fend for themselves; The Runaways are a hit in Japan thanks to the song Cherry Bomb. But it's partly the being left to their own devices which contributes to their downfall. That Currie (who wrote the book which informs Sigismondi's film) and Jett (who executive produced), survived has more to do with good luck than good management.

I don't imagine too many Twi-hards will be drawn to The Runaways, K-Stew or not. But her punkesque demeanor here suggests that she may more than adequately fill the role of Lisbeth Salander - the goth computer hacker heroine of the Millenium trilogy books – when director David Fincher gets round to filming the American version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

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