2.5 out of 5 stars
When audiences think of films based on organised crime, thoughts go to the streets of New York or back alleys of London, but rarely does one think of Ireland. Yet, this is where director Barnaby Thompson (St Trinian's) takes us as he brings together a comedic tale of illegal drugs, murder, obsession and dodgy priests.
Pixie (Olivia Cooke) is the woman who walks into the pub and every man turns to have a look, wondering if he should buy her a drink. She lives life on the edge and walks through life without any fear of repercussions. As the daughter of one of the most powerful crime bosses on the island, this free spirit decides to take advantage of the information she has access to in his home. By sending her boyfriend off to intercept a drug deal in the local Catholic parish, the couple hopes to escape to San Francisco with their score. Then things go completely wrong on so many levels and Pixie must figure out how to get the drugs and the money back from the unassuming pair, Frank (Ben Hardy) and Harland (Daryl McCormack).
This all has the whispers of a Guy Ritchie heist with the comedy, the violence and outlandish characters. Even though it does not have the same tight production quality or quick wit, it has the potential with the inclusion of acting veterans Colm Meaney (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) and Alec Baldwin (30 Rock). While the film relies heavily on the appeal of the three young leads of Cooke, Hardy and McCormack. All are given their moments to show their comedic prowess. Still, for every humorous gem, some clangers prove to be more uncomfortable than funny.
Thompson tries his best to keep to a Tarantino-like balance of over-the-top brutality that is most likely the reality of the criminal underworld. While utilising the familial tensions of Pixie’s siblings to add drama to the relatively comedic elements. This is where Olivia Cooke shows that she can carry a production with her charismatic personality and charm. Even though the screenplay does not always support the cast’s abilities, their chemistry does cover some of the weaker aspects of the film. Pixie will not go down as a classic, but does an admirable job at being the poor man’s attempt at a Tarantino or Ritchie project.
Reel Dialogue: What should I put before my eyes?
Revenge, violence, illegal drugs, sex, language... The opportunities for consideration are plentiful in Pixie. Trying not to 'out' myself as a prude, but the question that needs to be asked is, "What should we put in front of our eyes for the sake of entertainment?" This film rips open the wound that represents the desire to enjoy something that screams out for moral objection. Psalm 101:3 says, "I will refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar."
When filmmakers add specific components of writing or imagery for realism or for the sake of artistic license, there may be an excuse on their part, but where does the accountability come down to the viewer? Should I be putting graphic violence, sexual content and crude language before my eyes and into my mind? The answer seems pretty obvious, but how would you answer that question? Something to consider before seeing Pixie.