Thursday, 31 July 2014

Violet & Daisy (4 Stars)

Violet and Daisy are a pair of teenage assassins in New York. With the exception of the opening scene that introduces the girls carrying out a typical job successfully, the whole film takes place on Daisy's 18th birthday.

Violet (Alexis Biedel) and Daisy (Saoirse Ronan) have been working together for three years. On her 18th birthday Daisy wants to quit, because she feels like she's never had a real life. In a magazine she sees a fantastic new dress that she wants, but she's broke, so she agrees to do one last job. They have to execute someone who has stolen from their boss. In the closing credits he's called Michael, but in the film itself we never hear his name. I have to admit that it's more appropriate for him to be an anonymous unnamed character, so I'll refer to him as X.

This is the job that changes Daisy's life. It's a trauma for both of the girls, but we see things primarily through Daisy's eyes. When they arrive at the apartment they find out that X (James Gandolfini) wants them to kill him. He's suffering from cancer and would prefer a quick death. The girls find X very pleasant and develop an affection for him. They spend a whole day with him, talking and exchanging their life stories. He repeatedly asks them to get on with their job, but the more they get to know him the less they want to kill him.

More than anything, the film is a psychological drama. It could even be described as a coming-of-age story, as Daisy attempts to regain her childhood, looking up to X as a father figure. James Gandolfini plays the role in a very relaxed way, stealing the scenes with his magnificent acting. He repeats the mannerisms that he used as Tony Soprano, but he's a very different character. Saoirse Ronan also excels as the innocent little girl with a gun. If anything, the weak link is Alexis Biedel. We hear in the film that she also has father issues, but they're not put across as convincingly.

When Saoirse Ronan doesn't know what to do...

she sucks a lollipop!

The film's cinematography is noteworthy. There are so many scenes which are framed so beautifully that I feel like posting a hundred snapshots. I'll try to restrain myself and just post the best.

Alexis Biedel, beautiful assassin.

Sleeping with the enemy?

When teenage nuns deliver pizza...

don't forget the tip!

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