Aug 30, 2012

Review: The Runaways - 2010



The Runaways
Director: Floria Sigismondi
2010
Drama/Music

Joan Larkin has a dream, she wants to play in an all-girl rock band, break all the conventional rules and conquer the world with rock n roll. When she sees the famous producer Kim Fowley, she introduces herself as Joan Jett and presents her ideas. Kim immediately puts her together with Sandy West – a drummer. They get a few day before they demonstrate their talents for him. A singer with an attitude is needed and Kim gets one – Cherrie Currie. The Story about The Runaways takes its beginning!

I’m a big fan of The Runaways and have been for many years. I have all of their records on vinyl and it was with great interest I got this movie. To see the beginning of the story, which was over, almost before it began and definite before I discovered the band in the 80’s was very interesting. But I was also worried that they shouldn’t tell the story like it happened and dramatize it a little too much for the sake of the film. I wouldn’t brag about knowing about every little detail in the story, but I’d say I know my fair share of what went down and I think it’s told pretty correct.

Actor wise, it’s a very fine film. I like Kristen Stewart as Joan Jett very much and Dakota Fanning as Cherrie Currie is a great choice too! They’re almost lookalikes to the real thing. Scout Taylor-Compton as Lita Ford and even Stella Maeves as Sandy West also looks very similar to the real people. I can’t really say how good the capture of Kim Fowley is done by Michael Shannon, but he’s certainly portrayed like a total asshole and that seems to be about right if I know the story right!

But this isn’t really the story about The Runaways. It’s more like a story about Cherrie and Joan, their relationship and their destiny before, during, and after the band. There’s very little focus on Lita Ford and Sandy WestJackie Fox isn’t even in the story, instead there’s a bassist named Robin which I don’t recognize from the real group. The explanation is simple; apparently Jackie Fox didn’t allow that her name was used in the movie. But apart from this I assume there’s a great deal of truth in here considering that the film is based on Neon Angel, written by Cherrie Currie.

So… Even if the actresses are really good and their characters superb, there’s still no way I can be totally satisfied with this movie. I expected a movie about The Runaways and got one about Joan and Cherrie. There’s too much stuff about the band that’s left out, the story ends too soon and doesn’t cover the time after Cherrie Currie refuses to take part anymore. I would have wanted a more complete story about the final years of The Runaways too and I would have wanted the film to tell me what happened to the members of the band through time, not just what happened to Cherrie/Joan. More music wouldn’t have hurt either.

To tell you the truth, I wouldn’t have liked this movie so much if I wasn’t so familiar with the story from the beginning. And without documentaries like Edgeplay It wouldn’t be able to stand on its own for me.

This review is dedicated to Sandy West, as this movie should be…

8/10