Concrete Blondes

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“Would it be churlish to point out they’re not real blondes?”

concreteblondesThis is the story of three young women, sharing a house. There’s Kris (Pope), the sensible and apparently staid one, who works as a tax accountant; her flighty girlfriend Tara (Armstrong); and roommate Sammi (Baird). Tara and Sammi stumble into the aftermath of an apparent gangland shootout, exiting with a bag containing over $3 million in cash. The trio have very different ideas about what to do next, but Kris convinces them the best bet immediately, is to stash the bag in a lock-up, secured by three separate padlocks, with each holding one key, until they figure out if anyone is coming after the money. However, Sammi’s inability to keep her mouth shut proves disastrous, as her boyfriend is $50,000 in debt to local mob boss Kostas Jakobatos (Rhys-Davies), and sees an opportunity to clear the balance, and a lot more. Neither of the men have reckoned with Kris who, it turns out, is much more prepared for the situation than her two house-mates.

The approach to the storytelling feels undeniably Tarantinoesque: we’ll see a scene from one perspective, then crank the timeline back, and see what leads up to it, and the aftermath, from another character’s point of view. This is a mixed blessing. For some scenes, you do go “Ah-hah…” as light dawns; for others, it seems like a pointless exercise – compare and contrast Wild Things, where they saved all these aspects up until the very end, to much greater impact. The other problem is, the characters are not very likeable, particularly Tara and Sammi, who alternate between bitchy and whiny, neither of which are endearing. Kris fares much better, yet her back story is rather implausible and underplayed, in the sense that I’d have liked to hear about it in detail. In some ways, it might have make for a more interesting – and certainly, more original – tale than what we actually get, which is instead, largely a recycled selection of elements and styles from other films, such as Shallow Grave.

I should also point out that nothing matching the cover actually occurs, though by now, I’m quite used to films over-selling the “girls with guns” aspect, probably because of how successful it is. While I can’t honestly say I was bored by the proceedings as they unfolded here, my interest generally remained stuck somewhere in second gear. That may be suitable for pottering around town, but falls well short of adequate for hitting the highway and letting her rip.

Dir: Nicholas Kalikow
Star: Carly Pope, Samaire Armstrong, Diora Baird, John Rhys-Davies

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