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Pixie Review

Pixie (Olivia Cooke) is the daughter of a small-town gangster (Colm Meaney) in the west Ireland town of Sligo, looking to start a new life by any means necessary. When a dead body lands on her doorstep, she embarks on a road trip with a couple of strangers — but a gangster priest Father Hector (Alec Baldwin) isn’t far behind.

An ensemble cast of colorful characters with criminal undertones. Sparky, sardonic dialogue in a rural Irish setting. A road trip with an unexpected threesome.

Perhaps it’s not a question on the tip of anyone’s tongue, but that’s the jumble of influences that Pixie chucks into the boot as it drives manically across the screen. As gangster comedies go, it feels firmly rooted in the late ‘90s/early ‘00s boom that Ritchie triggered, a film slightly out of time. All its key elements — the McGuffin of a bag of drugs, the wacky supporting characters, the deadly hitman — are familiar enough. But Pixie really lives on its cast.

As the titular daughter of a crime boss looking to start a new life, Olivia Cooke is relentlessly charismatic: an effervescent, instantly watchable performance, she deserves all the lead roles you can throw at her. But she’s occasionally let down by a script obsessed with dated, horny humour. While Pixie herself is sharp-witted and confident, her two companions (played by Ben Hardy and Daryl McCormack) are lumbered with creepy teenage boy showboating, which makes you wish they — and the film — would grow up a bit.

Proceedings brighten, however, with excellent a couple of excellent cameos. First up is Dylan Moran, blunt and brilliant — like if Bernard Black became an arms dealer. His deadpan dryness is as darkly funny as it is appropriately terrifying. And then there’s Alec Baldwin, as the kingpin of the gangster priests. Dressed to the nines in billowing black cassocks, Baldwin makes a solid attempt at an Oirish accent, but the mere choice of his casting alone is as good as any joke in the film. The climax, in which Baldwin engages in a slow-motion gunfight, in a church, with nuns, is the kind of am-I-really-watching-this moment that is just the right side of absurd.

 

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