Saturday, May 28, 2011

Double Dakota Feature: Push (2009) & The Secret Life of Bees (2008)

Push is more or less an average action flick with a great concept that seems to come up a little short. It's essentially a story about a small group of psychic warriors fighting against a government agency that wants to use them as weapons.

The psychic abilities are fun, and it's cool to see them in action (the movers are perhaps the most visually impressive, but the pushers are more dangerous). But what should have been a brilliant labyrinth of plot twists designed to fool those who can read other's minds and predict the future ends up being too convoluted and too little detailed for it really to be the brain puzzle it could be. Instead, it's just the exciting climax to an action film that doesn't expect you to think too much - and maybe for some people, that's enough.

In any case, it's worth watching just for Dakota Fanning's character alone - a feisty 13 year old oracle with something of a punk aesthetic. I like the pink streaks in her hair. The best visual effect in the entire movie is the amount of leg Dakota shows off, between those stylin' boots, and a pair of pleated shorts that look an awful lot like a mini-skirt. ;-)

The Secret Life of Bees is a rural southern tale that in part recalls Hounddog, but tells less of a sensual, and more of an emotionally dramatic story. Dakota plays Lily, a strong girl who nevertheless has a hole in her heart, who runs away from home in search of her place in the world, and a family that will actually love her. Needless to say, she finds just that, but not without experiencing some bumps before settling in.

The film depicts a time in history when the civil rights movement was just beginning to gain ground, and there's a good amount of racial tension involved. Yet Lily (aptly named) sees through the irrational hatred between the races, and forms a strong bond with the colored family that takes her in.

A little bit of research reveals that although The Secret Life of Bees was released before Push, it was actually filmed after it (argh), so Dakota is slightly older in this film - albeit not by much. But, while she's still got some growing left to do, I get the sense in this role that her body is just beginning to catch up to the maturity she's possessed for so long.

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