Too much sugar can kill you.
So, young girl assassins. This is a thing in our entertainment. In recent years, there’s been Hanna, Hit-Girl from Kick-Ass, and the unrelated The Hit Girl, not to mention Gunslinger Girl and countless similar anime. What is the appeal here? Is it the basic contradiction of a sweet-acting girl secretly acing dudes? Does it speak to a disconnect between adults and youth, where adults see the youth as something to be feared? Is it some sort subconscious sexual thing, where pursuit of underage girls is something dangerous? I don’t have the answer; all I know is that Violet & Daisy is another in this subgenre, with two girly girls who shoot goons in their heads.
Violet (Alexis Bledel, Gilmore Girls) and Daisy (Saoirse Ronan, The Lovely Bones) are teenage hired killers. To afford dresses from their favorite pop star/designer, they agree to take one last job. They’re off to kill a man who lives alone in a small apartment, and who’s made some powerful enemies. Once there, the unthinkable happens—they meet their target, Michael (James Gandolfini, The Sopranos) and get to know him. It’s a meeting of the minds as all three have confessions for one another. With both cops and rival crooks on their way, it’s not going to end until someone’s dead.
Violet & Daisy takes place in a heightened reality, where everything is exaggerated and just slightly “off” from the world you and I live in. If you’re hoping for an explanation as to how these two bubblegum pop girls became assassins, too bad. The back story is mostly skipped over—we’re just supposed to accept that this giggly pair kills people for money and that’s it. The movie does some neat tricks at the beginning, with the girls using their youthful appearance to their advantage. Notice how they casually walk down a street swarming with cops, and the cops never stop to question them even though they’re right outside a crime scene because, hey, they’re just kids.
Generally, Violet is the serious one and Daisy is the silly one, although they both have moments of seriousness and silliness. Alexis Bledel has that same low-key, soft-spoken line delivery that served her so well as the wise-beyond-her-years character on Gilmore Girls, and it’s odd hearing her talk about plugging fools and other such “street crime” talk. That semi-formality works for the character, though, because she plays everything close to the chest, and doesn’t normally let others “in,” until she finally opens up to Michael. Daisy, on the other hand, is the flighty, giggly one. She also has a secret to hide, but she is nonetheless the high-spirited positive one, and the first one to make a connection with Michael.
Just as we don’t get a real back story for the girls, the same is true for Michael. His connection to the criminal underworld and why he’s wanted dead is unclear. It’s more his personal story that the filmmakers are interested in, as we learn not about his crimes, but about a relationship important to him, and his regrets on how badly it has gone. Gandolfini spends almost the entire movie sitting in one chair, relying on the dialogue and some telling looks of the eye to get across the character’s thought process.
Although there is some gunplay and bloodletting here and there, know that this is a mostly talky flick, more interested in the quirky back-and-forth between Violet, Daisy and Michael than it is in over-the-top bullet ballets. This might be an odd, abstract world we’re experiencing, but the dialogue is sharp and the characterization is thoughtful; surprising considering the movie’s goofball premise.
This a bright and colorful movie, nicely shot by writer-director Geoffrey Fletcher (Precious), and those colors and detail are nicely captured on Violet & Daisy (Blu-ray), with rich colors, natural flesh tones, and the vibrant blue of the girls’ blue eyes. Sound is good as well, with the all-important dialogue coming through clearly. The only extras are the trailer and a poster gallery.
Violet & Daisy is neither a typical Hollywood crime thriller, nor is it weird-ass anime-style craziness. It’s somewhere in between. It’s not for everyone, but I’m glad I saw it.