The Runaways (2010)

Starring: Dakota Fanning, Kristen Stewart, Michael Shannon, Riley Keough, Stella Maeve, Scout Taylor-Compton, Alia Shawkat

Directed by: Floria Sigismondi

R. 107 mins

A curiously boring film about rock & roll, The Runaways just barely illuminates us into the lives of the revolutionary band members. This is video artist Sigismondi’s first feature and it shows – there’s lots of style but not enough focus on the people themselves. We already know the music is great, but The Runaways were all about attitude and audiences should know where it all began. Michael Shannon plays the eccentric (and verbally abusive) manager, Kim Fowley, who assembles what he believes to be a girl band destined for stardom. His performance is so electrifying that it’s a shame the band itself is so one-dimensional and after the credits roll, I was left remember him and not feeling any sort of “girl power” …There are moments where the relationship between Joan Jett (Kristen Stewart) and Cherie Currie (Dakota Fanning) is touched on, but Sigismondi is quick to cut to another concert that doesn’t add to our understanding of these people. Fanning does her best to portray the complicated Currie, drug addiction and all, but she can’t hold together the limp narrative. Perhaps if things were brought more into focus The Runaways might succeed as an exciting tale of sex, drugs and rock & roll. Unfortunately, this film is way too safe and that’s something that The Runaways certainly were not – * * 1/2

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