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Bella Thorne And Mickey Rourke Put Forth Strong Work In The Otherwise Forgettable “Girl”

There are two interesting performances contained within Girl, an otherwise wholly uninteresting film. On the surface, this is just a B movie that you would find once upon a time in the discount DVD bin. At the same time, you have Bella Thorne doing some of her best work to date in the title role, as well as Mickey Rourke at his most menacing. Is that enough to make the flick worthy of the watch? Not at all, but it does give it some personality that’s otherwise lacking. Thorne’s fans will appreciate what she’s doing here, so they’ll be pleased, at least.

The movie is a thriller, with revenge elements thrown in for good measure. When an unnamed young woman (Thorne) gets off the bus that’s taken her back to her small backwoods hometown, she has a goal in mind. Her plan? Confront and kill her abusive father. No sooner does she arrive in town, which is on its last legs, despite the protests of her mother (Elizabeth Saunders), than she’s hassled by the ominous seeming sheriff (Rourke). Then, when she gets home, she finds out that someone has already murdered him the day before. Needing answers, she encounters Charmer (Chad Faust), as well as a family legacy she could never have imagined. A fight for survival ensues. Faust not only co-stars, but writes and directs as well. Dillon Baldassero composed the score, while the cinematography is by Kristofer Bonnell. Supporting players include Glen Gould, Lanette Ware, and more.

Mickey Rourke and Bella Thorne are better than the material, that’s for sure. Rourke obviously gave an Oscar worthy performance in The Wrestler, but has been misused largely since he got that Academy Award nomination. Here, however, he’s intense and menacing, giving added life to a very thin character. The same goes for Thorne, who has a ton of talent that not all filmmakers can harness. Here, she’s dangerous, empathetic, and you can’t keep your eyes off of her. Chad Faust, however, turns in forgettable work (in all regards, but more on that below). This is truly just about Rourke and Thorne. Without them, there really wouldn’t be anything to praise here.

Girl represents actor Chad Faust’s filmmaking debut, and while his direction has some promise, the screenplay he’s penned just doesn’t make the cut. Too many lines are cliches, worthy of eye rolls, and there’s a twist or two too many within the plot. Visually, there’s a gritty vibe on display that’s not bad, but then there’s a concluding face-off between Rourke and Thorne that’s incredibly cartoony. It may generate a giggle, but it’s so out of place with what else has come before it, there’s no way to make it work. Faust has potential behind the camera, but he’s not there just yet. Maybe next time, especially if there’s acting like we have here with Rourke and Thorne.

Now playing, Girl is primarily going to appeal to those who love Bella Thorne. If you’re in that boat, the flaws of the film may be easier to overlook. Otherwise, it’s a flick that has far too many issues to actually recommend. Essentially, Thorne fans only need apply here. That’s often the case with her movie selections, even if her performances are getting better and better. Eventually, she’d going to be in work that’s as good as she is, and when that happens, we may well have an awards player on our hands. Until then, it’s just a waiting game. Girl, unfortunately, is not that kind of work…

Girl is available now in theaters and on VOD.

(Photos courtesy of Screen Media)

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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