Thursday, April 15, 2010
THE RUNAWAYS / ***½
Release Date: March 19, 2010
Running Time: 109 minutes
MPAA Rating: R
Music biopics have certainly become plentiful in the last several years, with the success of films like “Ray” (Ray Charles), “Walk the Line” (Johnny Cash), and “I’m Not There” (Bob Dylan), it seems inevitable that any musician with a story to tell will get a corresponding biopic. The latest in that line is the all girl rock group the Runaways.
The group starts with Joan Jett (Kristen Stewart), who approaches producer Kim Fowley (Oscar nominee Michael Shannon) with the idea for an all girl hard rock band. He puts her with Sandy West (Stella Maeve), a drummer. They link up with Lita Ford (Scout Taylor-Compton), a guitar player, and Robin (Alia Shawkat – Robin is a fictional character since legal issues prevented them from using Jackie Fox’s name), a bassist. They’re just missing one piece, and Fowley finds it when he sees Cherie Currie (Dakota Fanning), who has the right look, and is only 15 years old.
Fowley is presented as a mad scientist of rock and roll, and Shannon plays him pitch-perfectly. He’s a gifted salesman, and he believes that his product with the Runaways is sex. He tells them to “think like a man,” though in language a little more colorful than that. This performance is proof that Shannon’s nomination was no fluke.
The film focuses primarily on the relationship between Jett and Currie, and spends a little bit of time showing Currie’s family life. Currie is definitely the center of the film, and Fanning responds with her most mature performance yet. Stewart is also excellent as the hard-rocking Jett, the one trying to keep everyone together.
What writer-director Floria Sigismondi does well is focus on certain aspects of the Runaways. The movie is all about the rise of the group and what made them successful as a band; outside of some surface information about Currie’s family, none of the rest of the band is given much of a back story. “The Runaways” is just an entertaining snapshot of an important and influential band. Oh yeah, and the music rocks.
Theater: AMC Oakview 24, Omaha, NE
Time: 1110 am
Date: April 15, 2010