An overlooked film based on a true story is The Runaways (2010) now available on DVD. It’s the story of the first all-girl rock ‘n’ roll group, following their formation through the debauched influences of success to their inevitable implosion.
The Runaways are Joan Jett’s former band before she went solo and made her success with ‘I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll’. Joan Jett, who is played by Kristen Stewart (The Twilight Saga), is only sixteen when she encounters her soon-to-be manager Kim Fowley (Michael Shannon). With his influence, together they recruit the “jail bait” original good girl gone bad Cherie Curie (Dakota Fanning, The Twilight Saga) who is desperate for rebellion.
Under Fowley’s supervision and instruction Cherie Curie becomes increasingly salacious and falls into a drug addled state of indifference to her decaying morality and the depravity of the road. While Joan Jett is as deeply entrenched and culpable for every form of sordid behaviour she remains the stabilising influence, as best she can. You get the impression that Joan Jett can’t be led astray as she’s always already been there.
Although The Runaways story is an all too familiar tale of the influence of the industry which is a morally corrupt, money grabbing monster. The beautifully grotesque, patriarchal corporate control of Kim Fowley depicts how the industry birthed this libertine tradition.
As expected Kristen Stewart’s performance is somewhat wooden and hollow though The Twilight Saga fame she now shares with Dakota Fanning is likely to attract a younger crowd. This gives hope for a younger, female generation being educated on the history of women in alternative music.
On the flip side of the coin, hopefully the Twilighters won’t deter you as The Runaway’s hit song ‘Cherry Bomb’ alone is worth it.