La Jet­tée

Pasatiempo - - Moving Images - Rob DeWalt The New Mex­i­can

The Runaways, rock-chick biopic, rated R, Re­gal DeVar­gas, 988-2775, 2.5 chiles

Iis struc­tured as a chrono­log­i­cal biopic with a firm fo­cus on the in­ti­ma­cies and grad­u­ally build­ing emo­tional ten­sions among band mem­bers — specif­i­cally those be­tween Cur­rie (Dakota Fan­ning) and Joan Jett (the Twi­light fran­chise’s Kris­ten Ste­wart) dur­ing the band’s short yet sto­ried life in the 1970s.

Sigis­mondi, who has di­rected videos for the likes of Marilyn Man­son, David Bowie, Björk, Christina Aguil­era, and The White Stripes, in­fuses the screen­play with a de­gree of ado­les­cent sex­u­al­ity and raw rock ’ n’ roll grit that will have Han­nah Mon­tana dis­ci­ples run­ning scared. The real Runaways em­bod­ied a par­a­digm shift in the testos­terone-heavy ma­trix of en­sem­ble rock while si­mul­ta­ne­ously re­veal­ing fame’s lack of gen­der bias when it comes to three-chord-as­sisted (OK, maybe four) self-de­struc­tion.

Urged along by drugs, al­co­hol, frac­tured home lives, and a pan­sex­ual li­bido as­so­ci­ated with the key-swap­ping adult swinger set of the times, Jett, Cur­rie, and their band mates had plenty of help craft­ing their street­wise per­sonas. Kim Fow­ley ( Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Road’s Michael Shan­non) is the enig­matic mu­sic pro­ducer who brought the orig­i­nal band’s lineup to­gether in 1975 while trolling for un­der­age tal­ent at Rod­ney Bin­gen­heimer’s glam-rock night­club on the Sun­set Strip.

Once he has as­sem­bled his play­ers, Fow­ley puts them through a bat­tery of de­mean­ing re­hearsals and au­di­tions in a cramped San Fer­nando Val­ley trailer — they’re bat­tered with beer cans and dog poop to prep them for star­dom. Audiences learn early on that fe­male ex­ploita­tion is ex­po­nen­tially more im­por­tant to the sadis­tic Fow­ley than mu­si­cal tal­ent. It’s the packaging that mat­ters, and for that, noth­ing less than a blonde-bomb­shell front­girl will do. Fow­ley finds his golden egg in Cur­rie, a 15-year-old shrink­ing vi­o­let with Far­rah Loosely based on a mem­oir by The Runaways’ lead singer, Cherie Cur­rie, this fea­ture-length de­but from Cana­dian pho­tog­ra­pher/mu­sic-video di­rec­tor Flo­ria Sigis­mondi (she writes and di­rects here) cap­tures the pre-Riot Gr­rrl gestalt of the fe­male rocker like few films have be­fore. Un­like straight­for­ward rock docs like Pene­lope Spheeris’ 1981 clas­sic, The De­cline of West­ern Civ­i­liza­tion, The Runaways

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