Movie Review: 'Violet & Daisy' -- 2 stars
Violet & Daisy
Directed by Geoffrey Fletcher
Starring Saoirse Ronan, Alexis Bledel, James Gandolfini
Playing at AMC Empire
"Violet & Daisy" stars Saoirse Ronan and Alexis Bledel as two pretty young women who happen to be brutal contract killers.
When they're not playing hand-clapping games or worshipping celebrities, they're donning disguises and blasting away at targets.
This isn't Quentin Tarantino's latest pulpy grindhouse flick, however. It's the feature directorial debut of Geoffrey Fletcher, who won an Oscar for scripting "Precious" in 2009, and it marks a significant departure in tone and content from that grim drama.
Fletcher has gotten sharp performances from a trio of stars that also includes James Gandolfini, playing against type as a depressed, suicidal schlub who pissed off the assassins' bosses. The flick is conceived with an eye for a stylish, dark, Manhattan fairy-tale terrain.
But, if anything, the movie is too precious in a literal sense, driven by the fetishized image of sweet, feminine contract killers without finding much to say about the world that has created them. Materialism, loneliness and other factors drive Violet and Daisy into this brutal profession, yet Fletcher falters when he tries to introduce serious introspection into what is essentially an exercise in production design.
A movie can stick with genre basics if it has fun doing so, but "Violet & Daisy" lacks the freewheeling spirit of great B movies, the sense that crazy happenings are lurking around the corner. The flick offers an enjoyable journey into an off-kilter, noirish world and a collection of effective individual moments. But Fletcher's work ultimately just sits there on screen, waiting for something truly wild to break free.