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Edgeplay (2004)

7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 383 users  
Reviews: 19 user | 4 critic

A documentary feature film about the 1970's seminal all girl band, The Runaways.

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Title: Edgeplay (2004)

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Cast

Credited cast:
Kari Krome ...
Herself
Kim Fowley ...
Himself
Suzi Quatro ...
Herself
Sandy West ...
Herself
Jeri W.
Toby Mamis ...
Himself (voice)
...
Herself
Lita Ford ...
Herself
...
Herself
Marie Harmon ...
Herself (as Marie K.)
...
Herself (as Vicki Blue)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
...
Herself (archive footage)
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Storyline

"EDGEPLAY: A film about The Runaways" chronicles the rise and disintegration of the seminal '70's all-teenage-girl rock band The Runaways, whose members included then-unknown future rock stars Lita Ford and Joan Jett. The film explores the effects of verbal, emotional and psychological abuse on girls too young to drink, but old enough for sex, drugs and rock n' roll. Written by Sacred Dogs Entertainment

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary | Music

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Details

Official Sites:

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Release Date:

7 October 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Edgeplay: A Film About The Runaways  »

Box Office

Budget:

$80,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Victory Tischler-Blue was actually a replacement member of The Runaways when bass player Jackie Fox left the band. See more »

Quotes

Sandy West: I had to shove a gun down someone's throat once and watch them shit their pants. And then you look around and you go, 'I just wanted to be a drummer in a rock band. I just wanted to be out on the road with Joan, and Lita, and Cherie, and you, and you know, just having fun. Like the good old days.'
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Soundtracks

Lisa
Performed by Lita Ford
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User Reviews

 
Stunning
29 March 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Edgeplay is a documentary. It is a film that "documents" the stories and life experiences of 6 women, who were once 6 young girls called The Runaways.

What Edgeplay is not, is another in a seemingly endless string of rock biog's, in which aging rockers wax nostalgic about their first gold record, or their sexual escapades. It is not a typical, unimaginative E! channel collection of interviews with worshipful and obsequious narration, constantly reminding you of the legendary status of the subjects, just in case you didn't know.

Apparently, over the years, with the mounds of praise heaped over recent entries like Metallica - Some Kind Of Monster and Ramones - End Of The Century, the art of documentary seems to have been reduced to :Point a DV camera at a musician in a chair and ask him questions, show scans of nostaligic photos, and point a DV camera at a talking head or critic and allow them to explain why the artist in study is brilliant.

The problem with this tired approach is not only Deja Vu to the nth degree after seeing essentially the same film over and over, but at least to me, an exasperating need on the part of the film-makers to take you by the hand, and lead you like a child to the conclusion they would like you to draw, ala Oliver Stone.

Victory Tischler-Blue seems to have seen as many of these as we have, and decided, luckily for us, that the easy way was the wrong way to tell this often dark and disturbing tale. Admittedly, a static camera and an interesting anecdote can be informative, even absorbing, if the story and the storyteller are good, but there comes a time when you start to ask yourself; "Is this it?" Is this all that can be done with the documentary medium?

Directors normally utilize music as a tool to influence mood in their films, and in the best of examples, it's a tried and true approach. However in Edgeplay, that role is largely taken over by the camera. When Cherrie Currie, begins to relate a particularly sordid tale, the film begins to go faded and jumpy, not unlike the deadly video featured in Hideo Nakata's "Ringu" or the dream sequence in Friedken's "The Exorcist". A short, sudden jumble of nightmarish images and quick edits creates a palpable sense of unease - a sense that the film is trying to tell us something more - sending out a message in a bottle - a visual metaphor that parallels the story as surely and effectively as the pulsing ostinato in "Jaws".

There's a persistent sense of haunting running through some of the scenes that I found impossible to shake-off for hours after I'd seen it.

A good deal of the darkness in Edgeplay derives from the evident bitterness of Cherrie Currie and Sandy West, the two members who arguably suffered the most from their experiences in the band, and seem unable to get past it, continuing to hold grudges (some certainly understandable), and harbor feelings of loss and betrayal almost 30 years later. The final segment of the film focuses on drummer Sandy, who takes you on a very rough journey through her post-Runaways life, in a very short scene, that nonetheless seems to go on forever. The director's camera is merciless in starkly lit close-up, every haggard line in a face that has seen too much, speaks more loudly than any narration or musical cue ever could. Tischler-blue puts us into a stare-down with West that most of us will lose. The pain and regret in her clear eyes is unforgettable.

But there is hope as well. For every tragic heroine and/or victim in Edgeplay, there is also a survivor. There is the unflappable Lita Ford, who not only went on to become the rock star she wanted to be, but seems to remain largely unperturbed by her memories of her time in the band. There is Jackie Fox (Fuchs) who, rather than wallow in self-pity from her negative experience in the music business, ended-up an entertainment lawyer, representing artists and musicians. If that isn't sweet revenge, I don't know what is. And then of course there's Vicki Blue, Director of the film, who after leaving the band, decided to follow her muse into film-making. The hope lies in the sureness of the lessons learned, by Ms. Tischler-Blue, Ms. Fuchs and Ms. Ford that refusal to remain a victim, can render the monsters of our youth toothless.

It would have been nice to have heard from Joan Jett, who doesn't appear in the film except for archival footage, yet her presence, oddly enough is felt just the same.

What makes Edgeplay such a disturbing and yet satisfying experience, is it's utter refusal to tell you how you should be feeling about anything. It very smartly assumes you can decide for yourself who the heroes and villains are, and it does so in such a unique and refreshingly cinematic way, that it makes most of the rock biographies on the video shelf seem like cheap, generic DVD extras in comparison.

Edgeplay can be dark and ominous, exciting and hilariously funny, edgy yet thoughtful, but it is never pedestrian, and never boring. It is a kind-of aerial photograph of the lives of 6 very talented, very complex women, taken from such a height, that we can see where there various paths all went, in a way that is shockingly simple - and yet, isn't hindsight always?


30 of 35 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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