Time Out rating:
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Time Out says
Tue Sep 7 2010Little in life is as frustrating as a film that should be effortlessly brilliant but can’t quite make it happen. The true story of The Runaways – five LA teens who formed an all-girl rock group and had a fistful of classics before imploding amid self-righteous recrimination – reads like the archetypal rock biopic plot. Pop-vid veteran Floria Sigismondi shoots with gorgeous, sun-kissed super-saturation and her recreation of the sleazy ’70s proto-punk scene is flawless.
Even the mainstream cast – including Dakota Fanning and pouty ‘Twilight’ misanthrope Kristen Stewart – seems to be having fun with the juicy riot-grrrl roles. Fanning is particularly impressive as exploited pubescent princess Cherie Currie, whose downfall forms the film’s central thread.
But, perhaps owing to Sigismondi’s lack of long-form experience, it never comes together. Isolated scenes look stunning but ‘The Runaways’ never establishes a consistent mood, hopping from rebellious exuberance to doom-laden music industry critique. It doesn’t help that the script’s central point, about the exploitation of young girls, is contradicted by the material – Joan Jett became one of rock’s most respected women – and undermined by a camera which lingers lovingly, even leeringly, on 16-year-old Fanning’s scantily clad body. The result is an entertaining mess: lively and stylish, but frustratingly inconsequential.
Author: Tom Huddleston