Violet & Daisy is not what it appears to be on the surface. From looking at the poster, you get the impression that you’re looking at a film that’s more than a little fetishistic. Pretty young faces, deliberately placed lollipops... you get the idea - Hey guys, it’s a sexy double Lolita adventure!
No so. This ain’t no Sucker Punch. What you get is a “TaranTEENo”-styled drama, with (in)appropriately placed flourishes of humor and lots of carefully crafted dialogue, about two girls who just happen to be killers for hire. But just like any other girl, they love their pop stars and cutesy fashion templates, fictional singing sensation Barbie Sunday in particular. They just want to make enough money to buy the latest outfit from the pop star’s fashion line. Other than rent, food, and pop star approved clothing, their only concerns are for each other.
Written and directed by Oscar-winning screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher (Precious), Violet & Daisy was originally meant to hit theaters in 2011, but spent some time on the shelf for whatever reason until now. The film stars the shockingly blue-eyed and banged Alexis Bledel (Gilmore Girls) as Violet, the veteran that’s wise beyond her years and will trade barbs with mugs like Danny Trejo without batting a long, luscious lash, and Saoirse Ronan (Hanna, The Lovely Bones) as Daisy, the doe-eyed newcomer. Together they make a prettiest little killing team you’ve ever seen… with hearts of gold, or, y’know, whatever. One moment they’re celebrating Daisy’s 18th birthday with an impromptu private dance party, the next they’re blowing holes in gangsters as a pair of punnily dressed pizza delivering nuns. The odd disconnects are many, but the film makes it easy to make you think you’re in on the joke – the idea that disaffected, pretty teenage girls with even the slightest attention span could get away with just about anything, even murder, if they just tried.
Unlike the foul-mouthed pre-teen Hit Girl from Kick-Ass, these tiny assassins aren’t hardened, bloodthirsty, or on a mission of justice. They’re just doing a job and, somehow, they’ve retained an odd semblance of true innocence in the face of it. They are everything they appear to be on the surface, though more naïve than other girls their age. Of course, while they clearly care only for each other (platonically) as the bestest of best friends, they both carry a secret they’re afraid to share with the other that could potentially end everything for the pair.
While the film does feel like it came from the Film School of Tarantino, especially with its chaptered title cards and primarily forged-in-dialogue characters, it also feels like a lost Twilight Zone or Outer Limits episode, except without the sci-fi. Psychedelic fantasy elements do creep in via some telling and lushly presented dream sequences, but the rest of the film hangs on the side of stark reality. If you’re looking for a film about a beginning, middle, and end, what you’re getting here is just the middle (where any storyteller will tell you the meat of any story lies), with only hints of an origin and an end that will probably leave you scratching your head, wanting a bit more in the way of closure. That can be frustrating for some, but wanting more isn’t necessarily a bad thing. While I don’t see mainstream audiences finding much joy in Violet & Daisy, it carries all the benchmarks of a cult film favorite in the making.
Violet & Daisy is in limited release starting June 7th.