Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Violet & Daisy (2011)

I thought Violet & Daisy was going to be a more or less run-of-the-mill femme fatale/teenage assassin picture, but it actually turned out to be an unexpectedly sensitive portrait of human life. Saoirse Ronan and Alexis Bledel are both mesmerizing as a pair of walking paradoxes - girls who behave like middle school besties, but who are in fact professional hitmen (hitwomen?). Instead of being jaded beyond their years, they maintain a certain innocence about their work (especially Ronan's Daisy), like as if being an assassin is akin to taking up a paper route in order to finance impulse purchases - like the latest fashionable dress on the market.

The bulk of the story regards the unpredictable consequences of a hit-gone-wrong, but while there is a good bit of Tarentino-esque atmosphere (and gangster violence) to the proceedings, instead of a stylistic snapshot into the rough-and-tumble lives of a couple of underground dwellers (or the upbeat buddy pic that the synopsis seems to suggest), you instead get a slowly unfolding portrait of humanity, centered around the unnamed mark, played by a touchingly sensitive James Gandolfini, who does not act like a typical man targeted for death. I watched this movie mainly for its leads, but though I was expecting something rather traditional (maybe I should have known better, having seen some of the other movies Saoirse Ronan has starred in), I was pleasantly surprised to find that it rises above being a simple genre pic, and manages to be no less than a beautiful film.


  1. Alexis Bledel and James Gandolfini, I had to watch this film as soon as I found out it existed (which, still, was years after it came out). I found it to be very solid and I agree it was more unique and well-crafted than it seemed from the promotional materials.

  2. And Saoirse Ronan! :p

    Yeah, everything Entertainment Weekly said about James Gandolfini's sensitive role in that movie with Julia Louis-Dreyfus, I felt all that about him in this movie.

  3. Dad said that film (with Julia) wasn't very good. It did get great reviews though so I'd like to see it. His last film The Drop was excellent, and it boasted an amazing performance from Tom Hardy as well.

    I'm not very familiar with Saoirse but I want to see that film Hanna. However, Saoirse does have too many vowels in a row in her name. I mean, who does that sort of thing? How is such a word to be pronounced, is she a Martian? And before you call foul, remember that aliens are frequently on a mission to explore human reproductive activities.

  4. I do believe it's Celtic - like Cathasaigh. I heard her explain the pronunciation of her name once, and it put to rest any fears I had about saying it wrong. She said it's supposed to be pronounced "Ser-sha".

    Anyway, I do recommend Hanna (Cate Blanchett was good in that one, too). I also watched Saoirse in that movie The Lovely Bones, but that one was a mess. She was as radiant as ever, but the plot was a mix of sensationalist cliches, and the special effects were way overblown. It's a Peter Jackson movie, and you get the feeling that he built up this special effects empire in order to do justice to The Lord of the Rings (which was excellent), but then when that ended, they had nothing to do, so he employed them on this movie, and they just do way too much with it. But definitely watch Hanna, though.