Oh the cinematic pleasure of seeing hot women committing violent crimes strikes once again. Not exactly the most original premise in recent memory, yet, Geoffrey Fletcher’s feature debut is an elegant and endearing experiment in bubblegum-coated drama about two teenage girls who happened to be paid “hitmen” or “hitwomen” in this case. Vicious in their effectiveness the pair retains the bane concerns of most girls their age, including idolizing Pop stars and drooling over the latest fashions. Violet (Alexis Bledel) and Daisy Saoirse Ronan) form a duo of balanced traits (the former is the brute force and the latter the brains of the operation), whose latest job turns messy because of a very willing victim.
After a successful bloody gig disguised as pizza-delivering nuns, the pair decides to take a break. However, their vacation abruptly comes to an end when their boss offers them one last mission; evidently, since they need extra cash to buy their favorite singer Barbie Sunday’s new dress, they take on it. To their surprise their assigned target Michael (played by James Gandolfini) has been waiting for them, and he is more than willing to be put out of his misery.
Smartly contained in the apartment for the most part, the film continues with a series of conversations that revealed each of the protagonists’ troubles. Gandolfini’s character wants to die in their hands before a rival group of thugs comes in and tortures him. When said villains show up, the story turns into a parade of random bursts of gun action, dead bodies, magically realist fantasies, and an unlikely friendship with the soon-to-be-deceased unloved man. One can only wish the movie was as exciting as this might sound on paper.
Ronan and Bledel (who strangely resembles a young Zoe Deschanel) do capture a sense of damaged innocence, in particular through Bledel’s sassy tomboyish nature. They both fit into this fable-like version of New York’s mafia underworld in which young girls can be killers for pay. Nonetheless, perhaps what’s flawed is the depiction of the world. Even with all the heartfelt moments between Daisy and Michael, the story drags on and feels somehow empty of substance. Yes, we get it, this is a darkly comedic coming-of-age tale sparkled with fantasy, but if that was the aim, it should have gone all the way.
Fletcher penned a script where the two leads are well-developed opposites but in which the rest of the plot doesn’t match their glossy explosiveness. The visuals are gorgeously achieved but the magical aspects of them feel detach from the random stylistic choices during violent sequences. It’s a nice concept but it falls way short of greatness because it’s unfocused. On the good side, there are several moments where the comedy works, and like mentioned before the main actresses deliver. Violet & Daisy is like a beautifully wrapped piece of gum, it has a wonderful sweetness that rapidly fades away.
Final Verdict: It’s a nice film, even charming. This is one of those movies that though they fail to be great, it’s impossible to hate them because of the good moments. Although the great cast seems underexploited here, they still have a few chances to show brilliance. Gandolfini it’s on point, nothing too out of his comfort zone but passable. The key here is in the chemistry between the tow young women, it’s cheesy, girly, but also mysterious. The viewer never finds out much about them, which maybe could have helped the story. Judging by what was on screen, this is not a terrible film that could have been great. Female assassins have seen better days.
Violent & Daisy opens in LA and NY on Friday June 7th.