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Pixie is her name and trouble is her game. “She won’t just break you, she’ll take a Kalashnikov to your heart,” is the warning at the start of this hectic gangster comedy from St Trinian’s director Barnaby Thompson. It features a strong lead performance from Olivia Cooke as Pixie, the step-daughter of a smalltime gangster in the west of Ireland. She’s written as a 21st-century femme fatale, a woman who uses her brains, beauty and cunning to sucker a succession of chumpish men into helping her rob drug dealers of MDMA with a street value of €1m. Her grand plan is to run away to art school in San Francisco.
The tone of the film is Father Ted-meets-Tarantino, with a smattering of Ferris Bueller and In Bruges. There’s a legion of influences here, and what’s on screen is perhaps never quite enough its own thing. But still, there are some genuinely funny moments: the joke underpinning the whole thing is that gangster priests control drugs in the area, and are led by kingpin Father Hector (Alec Baldwin, disappointingly bringing nothing much to the part beyond a splash of Hollywood dazzle). Pixie’s heist involves robbing Father Hector, and when that goes awry, she hits the road with a holdall of MDMA, a body in the boot of the car and two gormless lads from the local pub.
Cooke really is terrific, easily carrying the movie with her swallowed-a-lightbulb screen presence. I wondered if naming her character Pixie was a little dig at Hollywood’s Manic Pixie Girl cliche – the female characters who exist only to help men change and grow. By contrast, Pixie is her own woman, out for what she can get: an amoral, selfish free spirit. And yet, is she still a male fantasy? The script, written by the director’s son Preston Thompson, doesn’t do an awful lot to peel away the layers of seductiveness to find the real woman. But maybe it’s just not that kind of film.
Source: The Guardian
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