A cheeky gangster flick with attitude, Pixie is a bloody delight … and I do mean that literally. As the body count mounts, the star of the show, Pixie O’Brien (Olivia Cooke), bats her eyelids and schemes away.
Pixie is the adopted daughter of a gangster who fell out with a bunch of gun-toting priests, led by Father Hector McGrath (Alec Baldwin). Her beloved mother died nearly four years ago, when in her early ‘40s, and Pixie is the apple of her father Dermot’s (Colm Meaney) eye. For all of her charms, she has a dorky sister, Summer (Olivia Byrne), and a stepbrother, Mickey (Turlough Convery), who can’t stand her. Pixie plans to raise hell to get back at those who got to her mum, then high-tail it to San Francisco when the proverbial hits the fan.
Her former boyfriend Colin (Rory Fleck Byrne), is convinced he can win her back and get rid of her latest beau. Colin and a mate, Fergus (Fra Fee), get wind of a big drug haul and burst in on a peaceful meeting of priests … or so it seems. Then all hell breaks loose.
Meanwhile, Frank McCullen (Ben Hardy) has his eye on Pixie. He and his best mate, Harland (Daryl McCormack), are given the nod by their friendly, small-time neighbourhood drug dealing mate Daniel (Chris Walley) that Pixie is hot to trot, so to speak. In the middle of the night, Frank knocks on her door. Only, Frank’s best laid (pun fully intended) plans come a cropper, while Harland suddenly finds himself dealing with Pixie’s ex-boyfriend, who is carrying a firearm and is quite prepared to use it. The outcome of that is hardly what either of the mates expected.
Suddenly they have 15 kgs of MDMA. In pursuit, on what becomes a road trip, are the O’Briens and the gun toting priests. In the lads’ corner is Pixie. Or is she, because “devious” doesn’t cover the half of it?
While watching Pixie, I cast my mind back to the impact of another couple of crime comedies – Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) and In Bruges (2006). Those Guy Ritchie and Martin McDonagh films respectively really captured the imagination with their moxie and so does this. While not as sophisticated, Pixie has some delightful turns and surprises. That gets down to the script by Preston Thompson and Barnaby Thompson’s direction. The story moves along at pace and keeps you engaged throughout.
Undoubtedly the star of the show is Olivia Cooke. This is her vehicle to fame. She is fresh, sassy and oozing class, maintaining a twinkle in her eyes throughout, as the picture demands. Her sense of comic timing is exemplary. Ben Hardy and Daryl McCormack do the job as a couple of lightweights out of their depth. The landscape and cinematography are breathtaking as Pixie and co drive through the Irish countryside. John de Borman is responsible for the lensing.
Pixie is a wild ride, well worth taking if you don’t mind the excessive violence.
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Alex First is a Melbourne based journalist and communications specialist. He contributes to The Blurb on film and theatre.