It’s not often that I’m both eager for a film to finish and yet think the ending was too sudden. Perhaps that’s because there was no real ending to The Runaways, it just went on and on until it didn’t. The film delivers some high velocity punches mainly due to a number of great performances (especially by the magnificent Michael Shannon) but overall doesn’t have the kick it needs to be worthy of the music. The film lacks the brutal honesty of reality and in attempting to sugar coat it, it makes you think you’re watching kiddie porn instead of a group of lost girls discovering themselves.

The beginning of the film sets a fast pace that carries you along, sucks you into these girls lives, has you laughing, and tapping your feet to some killer music. About halfway through the film, it starts to lose its pace and direction. The last 20 minutes plateau and just kind of go on until they stop with no real ending, climax, or sense of satisfaction.

As for the acting, Kristen Stewart is damn good. She has great moments where she embodies Joan Jett and leaves herself behind. It was nice to see her break away from her usual roles as the victim who has to be saved and see her take control of the situation and fight back. When she was large and in charge she found a few moments of complete stillness and was absolutely beautiful. Sadly, other times she was still that twitchy girl we’ve seen in the past. I stand by my argument that if not for this whole Twilight phenomenon, she would be a great indie actress who would build her skills and career and eventually be one of those solid actresses that you see in everything. Luckily she sticking with the smaller, more quality films with this and Welcome to the Rileys. She definitely has it in her to be both popular and great.

Dakota Fanning is a wonderful actress and since she was a babe, she always delivers. Some people see this as her coming out of her shell and becoming a women with her role as Cherie Currie, I could only see a 15-year-old girl in lingerie with her legs spread. Instead of these scenes being powerful and proving a point that this girl was lost, they looked more like kiddie porn and it completely takes you out of the film. The story called for these scenes to be upsetting, not a turn on. She gave a great performance but it was not properly captured and therefore doesn’t deliver the message it should.

Michael Shannon is a fucking genius. He knows how to walk on screen and demand your attention no matter what role he’s in. As “Kim” the asshole music producer who comes off a bit more colorful in the movie than the true asshole he was in real life, he’s amazing. Still, he knows how to deliver an insult, make you laugh, and completely controlled every scene he was in and gave the movie the gusto and personality is desperately needed.

The Good:

  • The Music: There’s a reason why they were so popular, they made some kick ass songs and watching them be performed and how they were made on the big screen was a blast.
  • The Performances: Across the board, great acting.
  • The Idea Behind the Story: These girls opened doors and changed rock n’ roll forever. It’s kick-ass.

The Bad:

  • The Tone: This is somewhat of a dark and tragic story and it would have been nice to experience that more.
  • The (lack of an) Ending: The start was great, but the ending was lack-luster at best.

Rating: 6.5/10

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