Pixie – Film Review
Pixie is the name of the eponymous heroine, in this Irish crime caper, who effortlessly engineers a heist with impish charm. Pixie is an entertaining tale and it is certainly refreshing to see a strong, female lead in this genre who is not relegated to being a love interest over the course of the film.
Pixie’s narrative is quite simple, on the surface, with rival factions are pitted against each other but matters seem to become complicated when a group of priests become embroiled within the machinations. There are many shades of grey operating within Pixie as no party seems wholly innocent when the heist does not operate according to plan.
There are thrills and spills along the way as Olivia Cooke plays the beguiling Pixie with aplomb. Cooke’s Pixie is aware of her alluring nature and is unafraid to exploit her charms to her advantage. Styled as a combination between a Western, with inside joke references to Once Upon a Time in the West of Ireland, and a Tarantino film there will be many references to gangster and other crime thrillers to excite the audiences.
Slapstick in nature at moments, despite the gratuitous violence during a failed drugs operation, Pixie may seem uneven in tone but this is part of its appeal. The film does not take itself too seriously but straddles elements of friendship, trust and family loyalty within the crime caper.
Pixie befriends Frank and Harland as part of her revised mastermind plan which provides the film with some breathing space from the criminal activities. There are some light, tender moments as the trio embark on a road trip with some stunning cinematography of lush, green Irish panoramas. It is almost convincing that the trio could become friends at such moment without the anxiety of a drugs warfare. In scenes reminiscent of the French classic, Jules and Jim, the film portrays a classic love triangle with added dimensions as Pixie places herself literally in the centre of the trio and remains in control at all moments. Cooke’s performance as Pixie captivates convincingly as the heroine that could oscillate effortlessly between being flirtatious and mercenary in her quest for revenge.
Pixie the film does not provide significant insight into its protagonist or her background but in a film of this nature that seems to work well. Any attempts to create more emotional resonance or soften her character would not have been justified and it is therefore appreciated that director Barnaby Thompson retained that conviction through to the end without modifying Pixie’s trajectory.
Alec Baldwin features within Pixie as a vengeful priest, played to hilarious effect, and Colm Meaney plays Pixie’s step-father but the male characters are secondary to Pixie as the protagonist, which is to Thompson’s credit. Cooke effectively carries the film and is able to achieve both perfect comic timing and ruthlessness without sacrificing aspects of the character’s personality.
Visually, Pixie has sufficient quick edits and mesmerising long takes in a beach setting to engage audiences. The film’s pacing is just right and is a perfect example of economical filming with its 90-minute run time. Thompson’s direction of Pixie is enjoyable to watch with its comedic flair and slow-motion action shoot outs as a wink to the gangster film genre.
Pixie is a light-hearted film which offers no judgement on its heroine and her ambitions despite the means used to satisfy them. Pixie is an enjoyable watch and is therefore an ideal film to view for some Friday night escapism.