Thursday, April 17, 2014

Review: Violet & Daisy (2011)

Violet & Daisy (2011)

Violet & Daisy is the worst fucking piece of shit movie I've ever had the misfortune of seeing in my entire fucking life. I'm not saying this lightly, because like anybody over the age of 20, I've seen more stinkers than I care to remember. But most of them had at least some redeeming value. The Purge had a halfway-decent first fifteen minutes and a setup that inspired plenty of "what would you do?" discussion on the way home. Texas Chainsaw 3D had some brutal kills. Mary Horror was so bad it's good. Identity Thief had Melissa McCarthy in it. Sorority Party Massacre and Woodchipper Massacre had the excuse of being Z-grade, direct-to-video slasher flicks. World War Z -- hell, look at me, I'm defending World War Z this movie was so bad -- was well-acted, had high production values, and had some interesting ideas buried beneath it; the Newark scene, in hindsight, could've made for the foundation of a pretty good zombie movie. The only movies I can think of that rival Violet & Daisy in terms of sucking so badly I wanted to burn the disc were The Haunting of Molly Hartley, which stands as the all-time worst horror movie I've ever seen, and The Family, which I still can't find any redeeming value in.

But at the end of the day, I still have to give my personal Razzie Award to Violet & Daisy for being a pretentious pile of self-important garbage that makes talented actors look like fools while having absolutely nothing to say in its empty skull but still spewing a torrent of meaningless words from its purty mouth. It is every negative indie film stereotype compacted into a giant ball of wet yellow snow and then thrown at your face, leaving a burning acidic stench in your throat and nostrils for days. And the worst part is that I rented this from Redbox, which meant that burning the disc instead of returning it would've incurred late fees.

The title characters are a pair of young women, played by Alexis Bledel and Saoirse Ronan (the latter's character, fortunately, having no relation to the Daisy she played in the far superior How I Live Now), who divide their time between obsessing over pop singer Barbie Sunday, dressing up in fancy clothes, and carrying out assassinations for their bosses Russ and Iris, played by Danny Trejo and Marianne Jean-Baptiste. Right away, the first and biggest problem is that we get no sense of who these girls are. Why are they doing this? What are their backstories? Who are Russ and Iris, and what does they want with Violet and Daisy? We get that the girls are codenamed #8 and #9, and that #8 (Violet) had lost her former partner-in-crime before working with Daisy, but all of this is superficial, as are the revelations that come later in the film -- revelations that occasionally make no sense whatsoever. (Daisy never actually killed anyone before, and let Violet do all the dirty work; surely Violet would've noticed that Daisy was loading her pistols with blanks?) Our ostensible protagonists get only the bare framework of character development between them, the two of them having been written to look like a mix of bubblegum cuteness and Tarantino-esque badassery but having none of the substance on either end of that equation to back it up. They're blank slates and empty shells, a very poor man's version of Hit-Girl from Kick-Ass that no actor could redeem -- and while Ronan does her best otherwise to give Daisy some semblance of a personality, Bledel at times seems lost as Violet, quite understandably having no clue what to do.

Most of the film takes place in a single apartment inhabited by a man named Michael (James Gandolfini), who Violet and Daisy have been sent to assassinate. The girls are confounded by his attitude, finding that he awaits death, has been contemplating suicide, and has a very messed-up life behind him, leading to a series of long, meandering conversations punctuated by the occasional burst of gunfire. First things first: the idea of being able to shoot guns off in a New York City apartment without someone calling the police is flat-out insanity -- major plot hole. More important than that, though, it's clear that this film's writer and director, Geoffrey Fletcher, has taken a huge step down from Precious, which he had won an Oscar for writing just two years prior. Scanning his IMDb page, I notice that he's only written short films since this one, which, to me, indicates that Precious' success had less to do with Fletcher and more to do with the book he was adapting. This film is boring and goes nowhere fast, occasionally dipping into weird dream sequences that are just weirdness for the sake of weirdness. I was never able to get myself invested in any of the three main characters, especially not the two leads, who, like I said earlier, are shallow and have little to do. James Gandolfini's Michael could've been interesting given what we learn about him, and his performance here is commendable and quite different from Tony Soprano, but the script does him no favors, instead spending more time on our "quirky" assassin anti-heroines. In my opinion, Fletcher should've focused on Michael and made the two actual leads into side characters in his story, because those two girls are so poorly written that my attention wandered whenever they were on screen.

Score: 1 out of 5

I paid $1.25 to Redbox to see this. I want my five quarters back.

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