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Violet & Daisy

2011 | R | 2.39:1

Violet & Daisy


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Theatrical release date

 07 June, 2013

Country of origin

 United States



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Screenshots from Violet & Daisy Blu-ray

Violet & Daisy Preview  

 / 10
Preview by Brian Orndorf, June 6, 2013

Screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher won an Academy Award for his first produced work, 2009’s “Precious,” and now graduates to the director’s chair with “Violet & Daisy,” which is about as far removed from his industry introduction as possible. Taking on the assassin genre with initial hints toward the formation of a jailbait-killer satire, Fletcher soon loses the snap of his bubblegum, grinding the picture to a halt with banal stretches of dialogue and location claustrophobia. Leads Alexia Bledel and Saoirse Ronan show spark and interest to lean into the shaming Fletcher initially appears to value, but their efforts are gradually flooded by a helmer who doesn’t quite know what type of movie he wants to make.

In the heart of the city, Violet (Alexis Bledel) and Daisy (Saoirse Ronan) are hired killers who use their innocent visage as a weapon to disorient targets and evade police detection. Short on cash to purchase clothes branded by their favorite pop star Barbie Sunday, the pair reluctantly agrees to a simple job taking out a thief named Michael (James Gandolfini), holed up inside his tiny apartment. Out to score a quick paycheck, the assassins discover an oddly endearing man who’s looking forward to death, complicating the violent extermination the women were prepared for. As Violet figures out a new plan of attack and hunts for a fresh box of bullets, Daisy comes to bond with Michael, learning about his estranged daughter and life of misery, soon accepting the mark as a father figure, dragging out the afternoon with conversation. Encountering a second set of hired goons out to murder Michael, along with the interests of supervisor Iris (Marianne Jean-Baptiste), Violet and Daisy struggle with the situation, growing attached to the sadsack they’ve been paid to off.

It’s impossible to watch the opening act of “Violet & Daisy” and not think of Quentin Tarantino. Pilfering the filmmaker’s way with loquacious killers and spirit of screen violence, Fletcher has clearly been inspired by the “Pulp Fiction” mastermind, recycling elements from a master borrower to provide his movie with its initial lift, observing the titular characters infiltrate an apartment building dressed as pizza-toting nuns, with Violet trying to charm Daisy with an extended joke the younger, naive 18-year-old woman (now an adult and vulnerable to harsh legal punishment for her crimes) doesn’t quite understand. The fingerprints are unmistakable, especially with the picture’s indulgent monologues, collection of underworld creeps, and moments of larger-than-life intimidation, recounted by Violent in a manner that encourages the creation of her own myth.

Once the initial wave of gunfire and smirks passes, “Violet & Daisy” settles down into a relationship drama between the younger murderer and her reassuring target. In fact, Fletcher slows the feature to such a degree, it becomes a play, with the apartment setting rarely vacated, while focus goes from firepower to uncertainty, watching the movie attempt long passages of bonding between the surrogate father and his adorable grim reaper, with Michael pushing his doting desires on a willing Daisy, who’s never quite come around to the thrill-kill attitude partner Violet possesses. The aim here is to humanize the cartoon characters, but pace is sacrificed in the exchange, turning “Violent & Daisy” into a glacial examination of clichés and uninteresting people, poorly articulated through meandering dialogue.

Perhaps the most compelling of Fletcher’s ideas is his design of Violet and Daisy, portrayed as infantile girls who worship celebrity culture, ride to jobs on a tricycle, play patty-cake during downtime, dance on dead bodies, and gobble up the cookies and milk Michael provides for his guests. It’s a cheeky take on the questionable response the Hit Girl character from “Kick Ass” and many of her kind have received, portraying the ruthless killers as sugar and spice to an exaggerated degree, softening their inherent evil though childlike behavior. It’s a concept that isn’t pursued with much fervor in the second half of the movie, but the idea juices “Violet & Daisy” more than anything else on display.

Dragging to an anti-climatic conclusion, “Violet & Daisy” doesn’t add up to much, though watching Bledel and Ronan work over the roles with welcome abandon and deceptively wide-eyed innocence is amusing. They keep the film awake when Fletcher would rather sing it to sleep with hazily realized dreamscape excursions and leaden offerings of confession.

Starring: Alexis Bledel, Saoirse Ronan, James Gandolfini, Danny Trejo, Cody Horn, John Ventimiglia
Director: Geoffrey Fletcher

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