Floria Sigismondi is the director of some of the most impressive music videos of the past fifteen years. Her dark, seductive work has accompanied music by the likes of Marilyn Manson, David Bowie, Interpol, the White Stripes and even Christina Aguilera; strangely, even if you don’t like the song you can be drawn in by the stunning visuals.
It’s no surprise, then, that she’s now moved into film direction — the only surprise is that it took her this long.
Sigismondi’s debut feature film is The Runaways, which chronicles the rise, and later fall, of the band of the same name. I knew little of the band aside from the fact that it featured Joan Jett and that they had the hit ‘Cherry Bomb’. I certainly knew nothing of the lead singer Cherie Currie, or the fact that the girls were all barely fifteen when they rapidly shot to fame in their ‘manufactured’ all-girl rock ‘n’ roll fantasy group.
The film stars teen actors Kristin Stewart of Twilight fame (who captures teen Joan Jett amazingly) and Dakota Fanning (I am Sam, Charlotte’s Web) as Cherie Currie. And, while Stewart does a stand-out job portraying Jett’s f*** you attitude and angsty stoop, it’s Fanning’s portrayal of Currie that really makes the film. What these girls went through at such a young age is truly mind-boggling, and Currie’s downfall, with the help of her drug addiction, is heartbreaking.
There are many great things about this film. It’s not going to make anyone’s top 100 or go down in history, but it’s beautifully shot and is thoroughly enthralling from start to finish. There are other great performances as well — Michael Shannon’s portrayal of the sleazy, eccentric band manage Kim Fowley proves very entertaining, and Cherie’ twin sister Marie is nicely played by Riley Keough.
The Runaways is highly recommended if you want to want to spend two hours in a movie without feeling bored for a second.