Violet & Daisy comes from the most unlikely of sources. Geoffrey Fletcher, the Academy Award winner for Best Screenplay for Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire directs this violent yet touching film starring Saoirse Ronan, Alexis Bledel and James Gondalfini.
Violet & Daisy opens with a bang. Literally. Violet (Bledel) and Daisy (Ronan) are dressed as two nuns and Violet is telling a joke as the two make their way to an apartment door where Violet & Daisy then unleash a hail of bullets that startled our fully unseated audience while leaving multiple men dead in a hotel lobby.
The scene definitely captures your attention and due to the amount of bullets that it takes to bring down each of the men shooting back one can easily be forgiven if you thought the movie was some kind of comical or supernatural film where there is hardly enough bullets to bring down a single encroacher.
But then the film takes us in a different direction. We watch these two young girls (Daisy just celebrated her 18th birthday) as they jump around on their bed, play patty cakes and lust over a dress in the Barbie Sunday fashion line (Barbie is some kind of fictional recording artist).
Needed money to buy the dresses they found in a magazine, the two hit girls take a job from Russ (Danny Trejo) to kill a man who has stolen from their boss. The two girls set out on the contract dressed as painters, but when they arrive at the target’s apartment, he is no where to be found. The two girls then take a nap on the couch when Michael (James Gandolfini) appears and puts a blanket over the two snoozing killers.
When they awake, they are confused as to why Michael would show them kindness when they have been contracted to kill him. This confusion, and with a break for milk and cookies, will be the center of the film as the two girls (particularly Daisy) develop a relationship with the man and cannot bring themselves to complete the contract.
Michael is a willing participant in the killing. Michael is a willing participant in the killing. He does not fear death and is estranged from his daughter. Michael then stole
from two different crime bosses in hopes that the monies would be given to his only kin.
This will then unravel a story where each of the three main characters will dig deep into their own emotions and backgrounds to reveal the persons they have been repressing. And as the girls struggle with their lack of bullets to complete the job and with another rival gang en route to kill Michael, Fletcher unleashes an interesting character study that is as awkward as it is rewarding.
Violet & Daisy could not have been better cast. Bledel and Ronan look like a young Zooey Deschanel and Lindsey Lohan and interact with each other with a believable innocence. Gandolfini has never been better on film. He commands a presence even while just rolling his eyes and sitting on his favorite chair, but he is perfectly cast as the determined Michael.
The depiction of adolescence with the injection of moments of deafening gunplay lead to an uneven balance. Although we appreciated the film, we had trouble understanding to whom exactly the target audience would be for the film upon its release. It is too violent to be marketed to the younger crowd. And it has too many comic book type elements to appeal to an older demographic that might have a hard time understanding how and why so many genres intertwine throughout the story.
We ourselves loved the film. We were able to extract the humour and the violence separately and enjoyed the overall story. The two leads were innocently conflicted and their views and impressions on life and their past were engrossing tales that connected audiences with their characters.
The ending to Violet & Daisy may surprise, but it was the only logical development in a story that was too deep not to travel to darker ground. Violet & Daisy might not be the film that everyone wants it to be, expects it to be or maybe even should be, but it was an enjoyable hit man comedy that can take its place amongst the In Bruges of the film world.