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 theyre sent to kill a man (James Gandolfini) who doesnt dread their arrival.
But this job has a back story. And theres 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 isnt 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 doesnt 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