Cert – 15, Run-time – 1 hour 33 minutes, Director – Barnaby Thompson
A young woman (Olivia Cooke) finds herself on the run from the effects of her dangerous relationships, travelling across the country with two near-strangers (Ben Hardy, Daryl McCormack), a bag full of drugs and multiple gang members not far behind
Pixie (Olivia Cooke) is said to be one of the most mysterious people in her town. She mostly keeps to herself in her small, isolated house on the outskirts of town while various rumours circulate about her, particularly among the men about her sex life. And her actual life is almost as complex as the rumours. Her step-dad (Colm Meaney) and step-brother are both key figures in a large gang who happen to rival a gang that are after something that Pixie happens to have in her shared possession. It’s not long until both gangs, partly spawned by the deaths of Pixie’s boyfriend and her ex, are after the titular figure on a road-trip through the country roads of Ireland.
Driving with Pixie, and often taking her lead, are Frank (Ben Hardy) and Harland (Daryl McCormack), two friends who have accidentally come across a large bag filled with drugs and, after another set of circumstances, a dead body in the boot of the car. Everything somehow leading back to Pixie; who has hatched the plan of selling the drugs, worth at least one million euros – according to Google – and then get the first flight out of the country, ideally to San Francisco. And while two gangs are on the tail of the group this never exactly feels like a gang story, one about someone stuck between two gangs or even just someone trying to escape from something. There’s more of a communal feel about the piece because of the relationship between the central three figures, and yet one feeling, or style, that sits throughout is that of an early 2000’s British gangster comedy.
On a number of occasions with the short lines that some characters are given the screenplay does sometimes feel as if it’s about two drafts away from being properly complete. There are brief asides that don’t seem to go anywhere and moments that don’t have any major benefit to the plot, and instead seem to be there so that a singular character has something to do while others are doing something to advance the narrative a bit more. While there are one or two mildly amusing moments that create the odd exhale of amusement the laughs don’t really roll in – during one shootout scene in particular the question comes about as to whether the scene is meant to be funny or not, the facial expressions and score – which sometimes you begin to switch your focus towards – imply it might be, but the effect isn’t really there.
All other elements are fine, the performances are relaxed and the actors seem to be having a good time – although Alec Baldwin’s Irish accent when we first meet his character; Father Hector McGrath, is somewhat questionable. Baldwin initially seems as if he’s present for as an odd cameo. However, after another 30-40 minutes he finally reappears for a few more minutes, proving, alongside various reports and articles on the film that reference his name, that this isn’t a cameo and making it feel as if there’s a lot with his character that’s been cut out. It ends up feeling like a very minor character is soon rushed into having a big deal made about them when it comes to the gang of priests and gun-wielding nuns in the drug trad – because nobody suspects a priest, cue joke about paedophilia within the Catholic Church.
When it all comes together everything feels as if it falls a bit flat, and it mostly leads back to the screenplay feeling as if it needs at least one more revision. While the performances are good and there’s potential for a good film, and some decent call-back moments, the film seems to lack something. Not quite having the comedic punch that it potentially could have. Leading it to not quite engage or have the energy and push that it might want to properly capture the feeling that could make it feel like a proper throwback to the 2000’s road-trip caper comedy.
With a few details lacking from the screenplay Pixie ultimately falls short of capturing the potential energy and humour that it could have. It might have some amusing moments but not enough to make it the pacey caper it could be.