Violet & Daisy on the surface looked like a very promising film, the concept was interesting and the stylistic elements were appealing. However the film falls flat for a variety of reasons… The actual story is the biggest issue in regard to this film. It starts well with a badass scene of our two protagonists Violet (Alexis Bledel) and Daisy (Saoirse Ronan) dressed as nuns and killing goons. The Tarantino-esque violence creates the wrong impression as it is one of only a handful of moments of action, with none being as exciting as the opening scene. The premise of the two young assassins was interesting and was the reason that myself and my flatmate sat down and decided we would watch it.
The initial excitement soon extinguished as the story unraveled and then let go completely. Murder was on offer and instead the viewer was given a story of self-discovery. Whilst a film concerned with self-examination and growth is not a bad thing, it is dissapointing in a film that seems to offer something totally different. Even the synopsis of the film seems to point towards an action thriller. It describes the story as ‘Two teenage assassins who accept what they think will be a quick-and-easy job, until an unexpected target throws them off their plan’.
To me and my flatmate this made it sounds like an action thriller and looked forward to guessing what we thought was going to be a plot twist and what turned out to be nothing. The film preferred to focus on cinematic style and this was mainly due to this being Geoffrey Fletcher’s directorial debut. Appearances create the impression that Fletcher was more intent on showing his talents than delivering a polished film.Whilst there are several very nice moments they are there to deliver a message but do not actually do much to advance the story or if I’m being honest do anything at all.
One scene that is particularly striking involves the character of Violet showering on top of a pile of bodies. It sounds as weird as it looks on screen. Not only are there serious questions raised regarding the script. Previously Violet had been told to wipe her prints off some guns but then proceeds to get her DNA everywhere by showering. The main point is that the director is trying to show the vulnerable nature of Violet, trying to prove she is not just a cold blooded killer but is actually a person with feelings. It is also used as a metaphor to show that a person can do bad things but can always wash those sins away. Perhaps this is why I find myself liking this movie. It uses Violet and Daisy as opposing sides, they represent the different parts of a person, to the viewer they are you. It is this relationship between the two that makes this film, sure it can drag on and the extended scenes of dialogue can become boring but the chemistry between Daisy and Violet entertain the viewer and make us care for them in a way that I’m sure we are meant to. Even to the point where the story takes us to a parting of ways for the pair (yet another metaphor for growing up, with Daisy earning her independance) and we are concerned for both parties.
The acting by Saoirse Ronan is fantastic, portraying the eerie and childish Daisy in the perfect way. Perhaps for me Ronans inclusion in the film makes me a little biased, as one of my favourite actors I find it hard to criticise anything she does yet I doubt many people will fault her performance in Violet & Daisy.
In essence, Fletcher takes us on a journey into our own souls, making us reflect on the bad things we have done (shown by Violets behaviour and actions) and also on the positive actions we take (shown by Daisy). As a big fan of symbolism in films and also in everyday life this appeals to me, it shows that they need each other, they are the yin to the others yang. The easiest way of identifying this is through the hair colours of the girls, black and blonde representing the dark and light side of the soul.
Self-discovery is the theme yet in all honesty the girls still remain an enigma to the audience, not knowing enough backstory to either of them to gain a full sense of their lives. As such there is not as much of a connection between the audience and the characters which is a real shame as this would have worked in Fletcher’s favour in terms of audience satisfaction. Those audience members such as my flatmate who could not see the finer details of this drama find the film boring as there is no connection and as he put it “could not care any less as to who died”.
Violet & Daisy could have been so much more, you only have to look at films such as Reservoir Dogs which achieved success on a similar theme, and similarly based in one location with glimpses of other places used to drive the story. With a story that goes nowhere, it remains an enigma and the audience aren’t really satisfied with what they saw. As films go it is not the worst, but it is certainly no where near the best.
IMDB rated this film as a 6.2/10 which I feel is a fair reflection. There were moments of genius, how often to girls perform the “internal bleeding dance” in which they jump on top of their dying victims watching the blood spurt out of their bodies, but there was also major dissapointments which is why I’m rating it a standard 6/10. It is worth watching but only if its a slow day and you have nothing to do, it is definitely not a movie night sort of film.
As a treat for finishing what is currently my longest blog post to date, here is the internal bleeding dance: