By Don Simpson | June 5, 2013
Director: Geoffrey Fletcher
Writer: Geoffrey Fletcher
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Alexis Bledel, James Gandolfini, Danny Trejo, Cody Horn, Tatiana Maslany, John Ventimiglia, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Cassidy Hinkle
Writer-director Geoffrey Fletcher’s Violet & Daisy gets all kinds of Quentin Tarantino on our asses during the film’s opening sequence, as Violet (Alexis Bledel) and her partner-in-crime Daisy (Saoirse Ronan) enter an apartment building dressed as nuns who are presumably delivering pizzas. Guns are clandestinely tucked away inside their pizza boxes and when they get a visual on their targets they let loose a preposterous barrage of bullets. Equally unfathomable is Violet and Daisy’s uncanny ability to avoid enemy fire, but that’s okay since it is abundantly clear that Fletcher’s film does not purport to exist in our reality.
This hyper-stylized set-up of manic pixie dream girls gone violently wild quickly tapers down into a psychological chamber piece when they enter the apartment of another target, Michael (James Gandolfini). Being that Michael actually wants to be killed throws Violet and Daisy totally off of their game. They are not interested in euthanizing a willing — and seemingly innocent — victim who greets them with a delicious plate of freshly baked oatmeal cookies and milk. Violet and Daisy certainly do not want to be psychoanalyzed by their target, but that is precisely what Michael does, as the narrative purposefully finds ways to repeatedly leave Michael alone with one girl at a time, long enough for him to pry into each of their motivations and goals while offering them some potentially lifesaving advice. While stalled out in Michael’s apartment, Violet and Daisy slowly evolve into three dimensional killers who are motivated by more than just earning enough cash to purchase the newly released dress from the Barbie Sunday clothing line.
Violet and Daisy seem like a pair of naive teenyboppers (Alexis Bledel had just turned 28 when production began, but that’s besides the point) who have over-indulged in a steady diet of violence-infused pop culture, thus desensitizing them to the point that they actually look forward to performing the “internal bleeding dance” upon their victims. Other than their John Woo-esque gun play, the two girls exist in a [fantasy] world of patty-cake, lollipops, tricycles, cookies and puppy dogs. Not only do Bledel and Ronan push the twee-licious cuteness meter off the charts, but they are both quite familiar with the world of hyper-violence from their roles in Sin City and Hanna, respectively.
It was the striking poster image and stylish trailer that enticed me to watch Violet & Daisy. The opening sequence really sucked me in, but once the story arrives inside Michael’s apartment, the tone shifts so drastically that I found myself totally confused. The dialogue between Michael and the girls is more expository than I can usually stomach, but that seems to be the whole point of the sequence. The film is set up with gratuitously bombastic violence, then we observe as the characters contemplate their past actions. Michael’s sole purpose is to ask the very same questions that are bouncing around inside our own minds, but it plays as a clumsy and heavy-handed examination of the relationship between hyper-violence and pop culture.