Over my years as a critic (yeah, I’m getting old!) I’ve always maintained that too much talk can bog a film down. Meaning endless still chatter instead of forward moving action can make a cinema experience feel like watching a stage play. The new film "Violet & Daisy" starts off killer, with a style and speed reserved for novices like David Fincher and John Woo, but then tragically turns to talk. It would have ground the flick to a halt and been destined for the bargain bin if not for one small thing – the performances.
Young gum-chewing teens for hire, Violet and Daisy are a killer combo. Working as a rough and tumble team of assassins, the two sweet girls merely pull off jobs to maintain their love of home, happiness and all things of their idol Barbie Sunday. Seems the icon has sadly called of her concert, but her new dress is about to hit the shelves. So in anticipation of their upcoming monetary needs, the duo takes on a new job involving hitting a troubled man – and it only gets more complicated.
There is a myriad of twists and turns that won’t be revealed here, but needless to say a lot of conversation does arise. Director/Writer Geoffrey Fletcher does his best to justify the heavy dialogue, but there’s a serious suspension of disbelief need for any engaged audience member to wade through the waters here. (Why so much super style only at the beginning Geoffrey?!) Fortunately his top-notch cast, who manage to continually captivate even amidst a Chatty Cathy-like setting, seriously saves him. As the dynamic duo of "Violet & Daisy," vixens Alexis Bledel and Saoirse Ronan give ‘can’t take your eyes off them’ performances. Skillfully taking out a hallway full of gunmen with the same casual effort as eating breakfast, Bledel and Ronan are a kind of assassin we have not seen before - strangely perky and optimistic. So when they come across the equally complex James Gandolfini it's much easier to buy their unspoken connection to each other. (Plus any flick that also uses Danny Trejo and Marianne Jean-Baptiste in cool roles has my vote!)
Look, the film is certainly flawed, but in this case the good far out weights the bad. Riddled with style, substance and roles all the actors seemed born to play, "Violet & Daisy" is far from forgettable film work. Though I am curious to see more pure action and thriller outings from first time director Fletcher. Sizzling style is nothing to be coy about sir – whacked visuals are always welcome.