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Originally published Thursday, June 6, 2013 at 3:07 PM

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‘Violet & Daisy’ is violent & strange

A review of the violent, creative and off-putting Geoffrey Fletcher film “Violet & Daisy.”

Seattle Times movie critic

Movie Review 2 stars

‘Violet & Daisy,’ with Saoirse Ronan, Alexis Bledel, James Gandolfini, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Danny Trejo, Tatiana Maslany. Written and directed by Geoffrey Fletcher. 88 minutes. Not rated; for mature audiences (contains violence). Meridian.

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Saoirse Ronan (“Atonement,” “The Lovely Bones,” “Hanna”) and Alexis Bledel (TV’s “The Gilmore Girls,” “Mad Men”) have matching eyes: two pairs of enormous, pond-blue orbs that a viewer can easily get lost in. That’s just as well: It’s hard to get lost in “Violet & Daisy,” a frequently off-putting film about two teenage assassins. The film is the directing debut of Geoffrey Fletcher (who won a screenwriting Oscar for “Precious”), and it’s a violent and thoroughly strange piece of work.

Violet (Bledel) and Daisy (Ronan) are a pair of New York hit girls; obsessed with an upcoming Barbie Sunday concert, unruffled by their blood-drenched assignments. They smile angelically at each other, play pat-a-cake and dance on the bodies of their victims. Early in the film, they’re sent on a new job: to kill a mysterious man (James Gandolfini) in his quiet apartment. Over the course of a day and night, the girls learn a few things about him — and about themselves.

The film’s a blend of deadpan and whimsical (with playful “chapter headings” and creative, interesting fantasy sequences), very much at odds with the subject matter. That’s the point, of course, but everything about “Violet & Daisy” — from the minimal sets to the terse dialogue — seems structured to keep us at arm’s length; it feels like a very stylized play. Except for those four expressive, melancholy eyes, gazing out at us in wonder; looking, perhaps, for something better.

Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or mmacdonald@seattletimes.com

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