Review: The Runaways (2010)


The Runaways (2010)

Directed by: Floria Sigismondi | 106 minutes | drama, music, biography | Actors: Kristen Stewart, Dakota Fanning, Michael Shannon, Riley Keough, Scout Taylor-Compton, Alia Shawkat, Stella Maeve, Johnny Lewis, Tatum O’Neal, Brett Cullen, Hannah Marks, Jill Andre, Ray Porter, Kiaya Snow, Allie Grant

An ineradicable cliché has it that the 1970s were not much musically. Everyone who was young at the time knows how wrong that image is. From glam rock to jazz rock to symphonic to punk to new wave to much more, the 70s had it all. Moreover, at that time the first rock chicks appeared. Europe embraced the American Suzy Quatro, a prefab rock star with exciting leather pants and less exciting music. America had The Runaways, a girl rock band that never managed to get through to the Netherlands, except with adolescent stimulating photos in the Muziek Express.

The rock film ‘The Runaways’ tells about the rise and fall of the band of the same name, which musically can be placed somewhere between power pop and hard rock. That demise is already predicted in the first scenes, when guitarist Joan Jett buys a tough leather jacket and singer Cherie Curry puts on make-up for a playback performance. The message is clear: Jett is an original, Curry a performer, and in the world of rock & roll, only originals survive. Moreover, a rock & roller, even if she is a woman, must have a bunch of firm cojones.

That message is the only unusual thing in a film that is further made up of clichés. The world of The Runaways consists of sex, dope and rock & roll, preferably in combination. And of course the girls are used as puppets by a manager who is as deranged as he is shrewd.

Those clichés are not very disturbing, because the film was made with knowledge of and love for the seventies and the music of that time. Under the hands of top producer George Drakoulias, the music of The Runaways comes to life perfectly, while the photography completely exudes the look and feel of the seventies. We are also spoiled for acting: Kirsten Stewart shows once again as Joan Jett that she can do more than play a longing vampire sweetheart and Dakota Fanning goes completely wild as the hazy, insecure but overambitious Cherie Curry.

The high level of craftsmanship makes ‘The Runaways’ far from a masterpiece, but a film that you will enjoy watching. Like the band she portrays, ‘The Runaways’ is a sexy and uncomplicated adrenaline rush. And for the forties among us a bittersweet return to the days of Toppop and Muziek Express. And to the nights you dreamed of a Cherry Bomb.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.