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Movie review: ‘Violet & Daisy’

Posted 4:43pm on Thursday, Jun. 06, 2013

R (strong language, violence, disturbing behavior); 88 min.

Violet & Daisy plays like a live-action version of a Japanese manga comic. Lurid and bloody, it has elaborate gunplay and kinky-kitschy lollipop-sucking schoolgirls working as assassins to pay for their teen fashions and music obsessions. Vintage pop hits underscore their mob hits. And in between “jobs,” they pause for a game of patty-cake or hopscotch, or gush about the latest fashions worn by their favorite pop idol, Barbie Sunday.

But this was written and directed by Geoffrey Fletcher, who scripted Precious, so the bizarre blend of Kewpie doll-coltish and “cult film” is purely American-made.

Alexis Bledel graduates from the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants to full-on sociopath as Violet, who seems to relish packing two pistols into a “Righteous Pizza” box, which she and Daisy (Saoirse Ronan) then deliver, dressed in nuns’ habits, to unsuspecting victims — whom they riddle with bullets. Hey, how many jobs let you play dress-up on the way to work?

They take their assignments from Russ (Danny Trejo) and pedal to some of their assignments by tricycle. They share an apartment, fashion sense, worldview — everything.

That worldview gets shaken up when they’re sent to kill a man (James Gandolfini) who doesn’t dread their arrival.

But this “job” has a back story. And there’s another crew — of much older men — planning to murder this guy, too.

Fletcher and his players never quite hit on a tone that works. This just isn’t as cute and funny as Fletcher seems to think it is.

The setup — schoolgirl-age hit women — is all. But little flourishes — Bledel emptying two pistols into her targets, or skating across a blood-slickened bathroom floor — stand out. Even if this doesn’t click at the box office, Fletcher could easily make back his budget selling this in Japan.

Exclusive: AMC Valley View, Dallas

— Roger Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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