If you’re setting out to watch Violet & Daisy, I hope you like your hitmen chatty, adorable, and of the female gender, and not in a graphic or professional way.
Yes, in a tonal departure from the Oscar-winning film Precious, writer Geoffrey Fletcher has opted for a bubble-gum, teeny-bopper mix between Quentin Tarantino and Wes Anderson – all terribly watered down and lacking the distinct execution of both Hollywood icons.
Making his directorial debut, Fletcher does at least try to spin a unique take on a teenage friendship, but his universe just doesn’t stack up concerning how independently unique he’s trying to be. A little less kiss, kiss and a little more bang, bang would done wonders for these pint-sized killers, but unfortunately that wasn’t the story Fletcher was even trying to tell.
Fletcher’s film revolves around two pint-sized contract-killing BFFs named Violet (Alexis Bledel) and Daisy (Saoirse Ronan) who share innocent giggles and a lovely friendship while cleaning the streets through jobs set up by their contact Russ (Danny Trejo). Needing a break from their working girl lifestyle, the two friends take a holiday full of cupcakes, fluffy pillows, and bonding over their favorite pop singer, Barbie Sunday. Russ tries to lure them into a “simple” job, but the two hold strong on their down-time – until they hear Barbie Sunday has created her own clothing line and the only way they can both buy a dress is to take the job. Looks like it’s back to work, but the girls soon find it’s not work as usual, as their next hit Michael (James Gandolfini) will be a hit they’ll never forget.
Problems arise almost instantaneously for me because Fletcher attempts to establish Violet and Daisy as cold, hard killers with a soft, child-like whimsy, but it all just seems puffy and fluffy to me. If there’s one thing that I can definitely point out from out director’s debut feature it’s that he doesn’t know his way around an action film, even considering he’s absolutely trying to be cutesy about it, but watching Bledel and Ronan just blindly fire pistols while wearing disguises looks foolish and silly, and not in the way Fletcher is shooting for. If you want us to believe two stereotypical schoolgirls no older than 18 can double as expert mercenaries, at least keep a little realism to the actions. Hell, Ronan herself kicked-ass in Hanna, and Bledel worked with plenty of butt-kicking women in Sin City – but these girls wouldn’t have lasted a second in real life.
Alright, let’s move on, because this story is more about the relationship of two best friends and the emotions they uncover after meeting Michael. A majority of the film takes place in his apartment, as they struggle with killing Michael while battling their own inner demons. You know how long this film would have lasted with a professional hitman? Twenty minutes, because Michael never would have had a chance to open his mouth. But in Violet & Daisy, Fletcher is much more focused on exposing emotional drama and quirky violent comedy, so Michael is allowed to pry into our protagonist’s brains for an adventure all too predictable. Ronan struggles with her job, Bledel fights suppressed memories of an old partner, it’s all sweetly candy-coated, but Fletcher’s forced hipster dialogue and weak emotional connection unfortunately make you care less and less about our character’s friendship.
Violet & Daisy‘s tone attempts to make the “killing for money” game all about hop-scotch and gumdrops, shining a happy, oatmeal-cookie eating, milk mustache wearing ray of sunlight on the profession, but the overly juvenile nature only permits a few moments of fun. I chuckled a bit at Bledel’s character playfully sliding through blood like shoe-less children would on a hardwood floor, and there’s also a little game Violet and Daisy play revolving around their victim’s internal bleeding, but besides these moments our two actresses actually give worse performances by trying to channel the inner 14-year-old inside. Quirky, off-beat, and colorful no doubt – but to the point where the assassinating actually felt out of place.
Violet & Daisy dares to be different, and tries to be something special, but merely seems like child’s play when compared to other “unexpected hitmen” films. This ain’t no Tootsie-pop with an enjoyably delicious core. It’s more like that stale, tasteless lollipop your doctor gives you after injecting needles in your arm for the last ten minutes. Sure, you got a lollipop, but was it worth it?
Violet & Daisy is a tonal sugar high in all the worst ways - an overload of marshmallows and lollipops which work awkwardly with the whole contract killing theme Fletcher attempts to use as a funny contrast.