You have to admire the brave attempt, but Pixie just falls apart if thought about too much. There may have been some good ideas, but it is let down by too many concepts fighting for the attention of the audience, and by the time the end credits have rolled, most of them will be forgotten.
Pixie is a comedy thriller set in Ireland, directed by Barnaby Thompson and written by Preston Thompson. It follows Pixie, go-getting and ruthless, and her chance encounter with best friends Ben Hardy and Daryl McCormack, who find themselves with a case of stolen drugs and everyone, including priests with guns, looking for them.
It’s presented to us as a Western, including an on-screen caption that reads Once Upon A Time In The West (Of Ireland), and continues on its merry way as a kind of love letter to westerns, gangster flicks, and Tarantino movies. The bad news is that it fails to emulate any of these styles completely.
The trouble with mixing so many styles is that the mix has to be perfect to work, and unfortunately the cast, the pace, and the script just aren’t up to it, which is a shame, because there are a few quirky moments that might have elevated this to some kind of late-night cult status, but when it tries to play things straight, it falls rather flat.
Olivia Cooke is smart, sassy, and seems to be right up for the trail of violence, death, and carnage that follows our trio of schemers. Her family has a history of such things, but it all feels rather forced as I struggled to believe in her character, and some of the decisions she makes as that character. As her backstory is spoon-fed to us in numerous scenes of exposition and flashbacks, one in which she breaks the fourth wall talking to us, it all seems unearned, and the same problems are in place for her two cohorts that are about as two dimensional as they come.
As the story escalates, leading to a final shoot out spoiled in the trailer, the pace grinds frequently to a halt by the insistence of the director to show our three heroes bonding and interacting. It is here that Pixie get a little ropey. Jokes don’t land, exchanges are awkward and there really is no chemistry with the leads. They are all doing their best, but some of the dialogue is just so clunky that it feels unnatural.
Alec Baldwin has a rather pivotal, if small, role as an Irish priest, but it’s hard not to watch him and criticize his accent here, so you wonder why he was picked in the first place. The character really didn’t need a name like Baldwin to play this part, making me wonder if he just wanted the part and they couldn’t say no.
The shifting tone leaves everything feeling disjointed, and though the production shows a love of film in general, the small budget means that the original ambition the filmmakers may have had is lost in the melee.
Louie Fecou reviews films, tv shows and comics for Ready Steady Cut, HC Movie Reviews and We Have A Hulk. He currently runs his own business in between watching films.