Tuesday, 20 July 2010

The Runaways (DVD Review)

Courtesy of E1 Entertainment

Writer/Dir: Floria Sigismondi - feature film directorial debut
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Dakota Fanning, Michael Shannon, Stella Maeve, Alia Shawkat, Scout Taylor-Compton, Riley Keough
USA, 2010

Reason to see: Biopic on the band The Runaways starring Kristen Stewart & Dakota Fanning? You couldn't keep me away.

The moment images from The Runaways started popping up online, I had a feeling we were headed for a good ride. I know looks aren't everything, but a film that's willing to be authentic on the mullet like hair has got the guts to go far. The Runaways has got guts. They go for it. I love how it didn't gloss over anything. Things what would be messy were messy, what you'd expect to be dirty was dirty. Of course there is fair share of glitzy and gloss - where it should be, like on stage, but it doesn't shy away from the gritty realities. It feels like a really honest take on things, sure there are frustrations and barriers of being an the first all-girl band of it's kind, but it also embraces the franticness of life at the time.

With the film being based on a book by Cherie Currie and executive produced by Joan Jett, you have to feel confident that the film presents an honest vision from the biographical point of view. One of the things I love about it is that it doesn't shy away from the flaws of life, that how even with the best of intentions, life can run it's own course and throw you curve balls along the way. People reactions can be different to the curve balls, because everyone is different. In a lot of ways it's a beautiful tale of persistence, resilience and what you can do if you've got drive.

The casting is genius, having two talented women in the forefront with Kristen Stewart (Twilight) playing Joan Jett and Dakota Fanning (The Twilight Saga: New Moon) as Cherie Currie, who make up two of the core members of the rock band this biopic film follows. Both provide stellar performances. I'm continued to be impressed with Kristen Stewart, whose roster of films keeps getting more and more varied providing us with strong performances every step of the way. Dakota Fanning is amazing in the role of Cherie, providing a stunning performance of a character which a range from drive to vulnerable to everything in between. Together they make up the heart and human connection in the film, we see their friendship grow over time and they also showcases how the same journey can taken yet received so differently by different people. Michael Shannon is also a shining star in the film, in a very memorable performance of the supporting character Kim Fowley.

Overall, it's a keeper. I'm already looking forward to seeing it again. It's a great story with strong performances and fantastic music to rock the house.

Now if you don't mind, I'm going to go listen to Crimson and Clover one more time....

DVD Extras:
  • Commentary with Joan Jett and actors Kristen Stewart (Joan Jett) & Dakota Fanning (Cherie Currie) - I love film commentaries and I was over the moon to hear that The Runaways would have one, but I totally freaked when I found out that it included Joan Jett. *The* Joan Jett! OMG! What an amazing thing to here her perspective on the film which is in part a biopic on her, plus Kristen Stewart talk about playing Joan and giving context on not only what it was like to do the scenes, but if changes were made from what really happened in real life and commentary on what they thought about that. Awesome. Plus, it's interesting to hear Dakota Fanning discuss her character, and also get to hear her & Kristen talk about working together which is fun because there is also the wild parallel that they've worked on several films together now and in some ways feels like there is a parallel between them & their characters. Un-freaking-believable.
  • Plugged in: Making the Film (15 minutes) - nice accompanying behind the scenes extra that through interviews details the band, the character, the music, production design, often discussing it in context of it being based on real people, the bands influence and effect and the fact that it is a period piece. Includes interviews with writer/director Floria Sigismondi, actors Kristen Stewart (Joan Jett), Dakota Fanning (Cherie Currie), Michael Shannon (Kim Fowley), the real Cherie Currie, music supervisor George Drakoulias, production designer Eugenio Caballero and producers John Linson & Bill Pohlad. It's a great watch and they even ask each of the interviewees what their favourite The Runaways song it which is a awesome touch.
  • The Runaways Featurette (2 minutes) - combination of film footage with interviews from Dakota Fanning, Kristen Stewart, Michael Shannon, Cherie Currie & Floria Sigismondi discussing the film & characters. It's like a combination of an trailer and interviews from Plugged in: Making of the Film.

The Runaways is available on DVD as of July 20, 2010. Check it out over at Amazon.ca & Amazon.com

Shannon's Overall View:
I loved it & watch it repeatedly
I own it
I highly recommend it

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© Shannon Ridler, 2010
Originally reviewed for Theatrical Release - March 16, 2010

Kristen Stewart & Dakota Fanning in The Runaways Courtesy of E1 Entertainment

Joan Jett and Director Floria Sigismondi Courtesy of E1 Entertainment

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