Thursday, March 25, 2010

Don't run from "The Runaways"

The Runaways.
Cast: Dakota Fanning & Kristin Stewart.

Writer and Director.
Floria Sigismondi

** and a1/2*’s out of 4

The opening shot of this rock biopic involves a drop of blood hitting the street pavement. The camera movies up and we see that it’s menstrual blood. This opening shot works as a warning to audience members who were thinking that this would be just another picture of young girls who think it would be cute and fun to join a band.

The menstrual blood belongs to Cherie Currie (Dakota Fanning) who is an outcast at her school, her father is an alcoholic and her mother is moving to another country. After being rejected by her father on her birthday. Cherie goes to a local club and this is where she meets Joan Jett (Kristen Stewart) and Kim Fowley (Michael Shannon) who was looking for a blonde Bridgette Bardot type to join an all girl rock band. Both Joan and her form a bond because they love being outcasts in a man’s world (They actually use the same James Brown song after Joan’s music teacher tells her that girl’s don’t play electric guitar and sends her home) Cherie shows up for the audition and meets the other band members Lita Ford (Scout Taylor-Compton) and Sandy West (Stella Maeve) but the movie does not go into any details about their life at all. Which made me want to call this movie” Cherie and Joan” since these are the only two characters we will be spending time with.

Director Floria Sigismondi worked on music videos before “The Runaways” and the live performances are the most impressive thing in this. After I watched this movie I looked up some old live clips of the actual band and was very impressed at how much these young actresses looked and sounded like their actual counterparts. Joan Jett herself gave high praises to Kristen Stewart’s singing in the movie and said it sounded just like her. (that has to be the best response an actress can hear) Michael Shannon’s performance as Kim Fowley is impressive because he walks the line between being charming and funny then he can also be very threatening and creepy but not dangerous.

The weakness of the movie is the story which plays like any rock biopic that you have ever seen. Including the band’s uprising through a general type montage. In all biopic there is an inevitable downfall, but the movie spends more time with this than focusing on what made this band such an inspiration to female rockers. I hope that when people see this movie that they pay attention to just the music and not the story. I’m also hoping that there will be more female rock bands in the future, because there are only just a small handful of successful ones and there really should be more.
To be honest. I have never really listened to The Runaways music before, but after viewing this movie I really want to now.


  1. Okay, okay. If I ever find a copy of this, I'll check it out. I wouldn't watch this online because then I'd have to find it and I only go through that effort for ones I really want to watch lol...

    I like Michael Shannon and I don't often pass up the chance to see Stewart possibly act well.

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