The Runaways is an adrenaline filled, fast paced and electric movie about the emergence of the all-girl rock’n’roll band of the same name as the movie title. Starring Kristen Stewart as Joan Jett, the lead guitarist of the band, and Dakota Fanning as Cherie Currie, the lead vocalist, The Runaways suffers a little from the clichés of the genre of musical biopics but is strengthened by the powerhouse performances of its lead, not to mention an absolutely amazing and full of energy performance from Michael Shannon as their producer, Kim Fowley.
The movie is directed and written by Floria Sigismondi. She helms these duties with the utmost energy required to make this biopic of one of the most influential female bands of all time. Now, the era is 70s, the time when everybody’s ears were ringing with the music of The Beatles and David Bowie, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin but what was lacking was a female band. That’s what drove the band. The movie captures the boys-dominant rock’n’roll very nicely. As their producer makes a point of reminding The Runaways of this fact every time he sees them. The film features very nice songs of the band. But the aspect of the film that clicks the most is the amazing chemistry of Fanning and Stewart. It was as if they were meant to play these roles. The electricity when they are on screen, the charisma they bring out in each other’s performances is palpable. It’s as if they can understand each other completely. Michael Shannon also seeps into the role of the producer very efficiently. His performance was the show stealer of the movie, without a shadow of doubt.Talking about the Screenplay of the movie, it may not be the best written movie about a band formation and break-up, it may not have powerful dialogues or catch phrases, or even a memorable rant, but what this movie possesses is its unique scenes of erotic feminism and odd blend of the culture of the 70s, the beloved and radical period in American history. Also, there aren’t any in depth views into the lives of the band members. As a matter of fact, only the backstory of Cherie is explored and her relationship with Joan is given the most time (which worked well in some aspect) but it lacked the character development of other band members, making their characters nothing more than background stand ups, making the audience feel as if the band only possessed two members. The movie is a quick ride, made up of three parts: formation of the band, the break up and aftermath in just about 106 minutes. The running time feels a little less to capture the magnanimity of the subject matter at some points, such as the jealousy of other band members with Cherie and her decision to leave the band, etc.All in all, this movie is a very nice watch, especially considering the fact that 2010 doesn’t have a large number of great movies so far. The movie is basically the ascent of women in the world of music, a world that is dominated by men. They are able to carve out their niche but fall prey to the usual fame-hungry controversies that are the epitome of downfall of bands. The performances are the highlight of this movie, as are some catchy rock songs. Dakota Fanning is absolutely marvelous as the “Sex Kitten” as Kim Fowley puts her character in one scene. This movie might not work for all the people, but it is an essential watch, for rock fans.