I will admit I have a huge soft spot for music biopics done well. In recent years Sounds on Screen has been a regular stream or pathway at the Sydney Film Festival and has produced some of my absolute favourite moments. The Runaways was highly anticipated for both it's subject matter and it's potential soundtrack (with so much great music to choose from). This was shared by many of the audience goers - again an energy filled the cinema as people came to be entertained.
The film is essentially a coming of age story that shows the formation and rise of all girl rock band The Runaways through to the departure of Cherie Curry.
The film's intention is to be true to the chaos of their formation and the music itself. Following the girls on tour across america the themes of sex, drugs and rock and roll are explored. The squalor of their cross-america tour is contrasted with the fandom and insanity of the Japanese tour. Musically and emotionally the girls start out as fans wanting to be cool and be Bowie and Suzi Quatro and evolving into a driving musical force with the usual conflicts of teenagers.
There is a wry humour throughout with the early moments of teenagers trying to be cool prividing inherent truth, agonising pain, and endless hilarity. The careful selection of the seventies fashions and makeups totally transports you to the mid-seventies where music was everything.
At times shambolic but always entertaining the dedication of Dakota Fanning, Kristen Stewart and Michael Shannon to their characters brings this film to life. Shannon is brilliantly sleazy, confrontational and exploitative as Record Producer Ken Fowley. Fanning displays why she will be acting force to be reckoned with whilst Stewart shows glimpses of Bella but eventually captures Joan Jett.
I loved this film in spite of its flaws and the soundtrack is carefully selected using a myriad of The Runaways, Suzi Quatro and Joan Jett pieces carefully interspersed with the Sex Pistols and David Bowie among others to recreate the seventies rock feel.
I dare you to go to this film and not come out singing "ch ch ch ch ch ch ch Cherry Bomb" or one of the myriad of other musical gems on offer. Soundtrack plus great entertainment!
It would have been nice to have a more detailed follow up on all the members of the group not just Joan and Cherie and producer Kim.
drk also joined me for this one hopefully she will share her persepective.