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 Runaways Review by Patrick Antona

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Allegrabox
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PostSubject: Runaways Review by Patrick Antona    Thu Sep 09, 2010 9:24 am

Original French article: bit.ly 9PEQl5

Article translated in English by @GaelleLovesMax
September 9th, By Patrick Antona. 3 out of 5 stars rating.

Sex, drugs and rock'n'roll straight out from the musical effervescence of the 70s, that's what The Runaways is about, a biopic of the eponymous band. The first great female rock band by the way! But it's more a viewpoint on the liberation and growth of young women (most of them were 15 years old at the beginning) in a man's world that we are invited to see by the director Floria Sigismondi, who previously worked on photography and videoclip. A desire for freedom by heavy music and a "bad attitude" that will not happen without pain, especially when all of them won't know glory and fame at the end of the road.

Choosing the character study at the expense of stage performances, Floria Sigismondi focused on three iconic characters: the singer Cherie Currie (Dakota Fanning who never stops changing), the guitarist Joan Jett (stunning Kristen Stewart finally free from the Twilight saga) and their devious manager Kim Fowley (breathtaking Michael Shannon). Through the female characters, the internal turmoil and the confusion of a generation losing its bearings is glorified, with Cherie Currie representing the glam and provocative side, whereas Joan Jett is more mature and strong-minded. As to Fowley, he's the perfect epitome of a rock manager, an exuberant huslter, drug addict, but perfectly clear about how to make his protégés succeed. With a first part focusing on the almost accidental development of this band and the harsh methods used by Fowley, The Runaways manages to mix adolescent chronicle and exciting hagiography.

But after a part relating the crazy tour in Japan (very close to the truth with all its excesses), the rest focuses too much on the internal tensions and the decline of Cherie Currie, who moves too quickly from sexy leader to junkie. Moreover, the impact of the band in the rock world is roughly evaded (some newspaper clippings superimposed all in all) and especially the fate of the other members of the band is completely ignored, particularly of the guitarist Lita Ford who had her heyday in the 80s. The way Dakota Fanning's role is stereotyped produces no sympathy, giving Kristen Stewart the opportunity to steal the spotlight and definitely win recognition as one of the best actresses of her generation.
Because of this contrast generated by a wrong handling of both the rise and fall of the band, and some approximations that will bother the purists of the smallest portion about music, The Runaways fails to be the rock bomb it was expected to be. We find some compensation in the way it shows this new form of feminism, held by the rough portraits of teenage girls, and in the physical performances of Fanning and Stewart, who let their emotions on edge with great talent. As in this last scene, where the phone conversation underlines all the nostalgia for a lost paradise.
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