BIFF Film Review: Foxfire (France/Canada, 2012)

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Foxfire screened at Biff Wednesday night at Palace Cinemas. The film runs dangerously close to three hours but thankfully you won’t notice it until you step out of the theatre bleary-eyed onto the busy, buzzing barracks shopping complex.

This isn’t the first time Foxfire has entered the minds of girls, women and people everywhere. The story is originally from a Joyce Carrol Oates novel. It then received its chance on screen in the 90s with Angelina Jolie footing the bill as the charismatic and chaotic “Legs”. However, the 1996 film was built for the screen. Laurent Cantet’s adaption seems much more honest and gripped in the footholds of realism.

In saying that, the film does lend it self to a bit too much excitement and assumption from the audience. The characters, each very interesting in their own right, aren’t quite fleshed out. There are allusions to domestic violence and malcontent in these girls’  families but no real attention is given to their backgrounds and thus they come off like tokens rather than people. There are so many opportunities for powerful scenes but they’re missed completely. Leg’s during her time is the correctional centre is completely omitted.

But as far as casting goes Raven Adamson was perfect as Legs. She appeared both intelligible, menacing but when it’s called for a tender girl coming into age. Towards the end, even with her post-correctional centre tough image she looks to be the most terrified of all the girls in this gang.

Ultimately, this movie is thrilling and entertaining. At times there are messages and allegories that feel like they’re being forced on the audience. As if they might have missed the point. There are so many situations where the message is spelt out so palpably and other moments where the story is too oblique and the audience needs more. But in saying that there is still value to this film, and still much entertainment in seeing it. If you’re willing to not pry where there are gaps, and embrace the cold heartedness and the tender sadness in these characters will you find an exquisite insight into a life most of us could never fathom.

REVIEW SCORE: THREE STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Foxfire screened at – and was reviewed during – the Brisbane International Film Festival