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Sunday, March 7, 2010

THE RUNAWAYS

By D.E.Levine

Director: Floria Sigismondi
Writer: Floria Sigismondi (screenplay)
Cast: Kirsten Stewart, Dakota Fanning, Scout Taylor-Compton, Alia Shawkat, Michael Shannon, Tatum O'Neal, Brett Cullen, Riley Keough, Johnny Lewis, Stella Maeve, Robert Romanus, Hannah Marks, Lisa Long, Adam Silver, Daniel D. Lee, Jill Andre, Shammy Dee et al.
Producers: Art Linson, John Linson and William Pohlad
Executive Producers: Joan Jett, Kenny Laguna and Brian Young
Co-producer: David Grace
Associate Producer: Sabrina Sipantzi
Running Time: 109 Minutes
Country of Origin:
Language: English
Genre: Drama

Music video director Floria Sigismondi makes an auspicious feature film directorial debut with a tightly knit biopic film about the formation and rise of The Runaways, a forerunner of all girl rock bands.

Created by Kim Fowley, a manager who lucked into starting the band with talented amateurs who could actually sing and play instruments, The Runaways achieved prominence in the 1970s through their performances and the uniqueness of being an all girl hard rock band, but their reputation was also built on a great deal of hype and promotion.

The film centers on Joan Jett (guitarist) and Cherie Curie (lead singer) played by Kirsten Stewart and Dakota Fanning, both of whom give amazing and believable performances very distant from the roles with which we usually identify them.

Another outstanding performance is given by Michael Shannon as the tyrannical manager Kim Fowley. His abusive treatment of the girls turns them into strong performers but their celebrity status takes their toll on their lives.

Because the concentration is on the creation, rise and fall of The Runaways, there's little actual character development and we have to be happy with what we're given. There's also not much background on characters in the band member families, whose actions influenced the band members to start the band and go on the road.

While the story is interesting and the music recognizable and enjoyable, the dialogue isn't great but the film is extremely watchable.

It's the performances that this film is really about. The convincing performances by both Stewart and Fanning show they are capable of better and more demanding roles then they've been given in the past. Shannon's remarkable performance is in keeping with what we've seen in other films he's done and are an indication of more outstanding performances to come.

The movie's fast pace and fun music make it enjoyable to watch and the end comes all too soon. While the dialogue isn't great