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Pixie (DVD + Digital)
With the resurgence of British gangster films in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s thanks to folks like Guy Ritchie and Michael Vaughn, has come a subsequent exploration of similar films set in Ireland. Now that things have evolved from looking at IRA films for the most part folks like Brendan Gleeson have helped lift Irish cinema to a level of respectability to where other projects can be explored, and that's where Pixie comes into the mix.
Preston Thompson wrote the screenplay that his father Barnaby directed. While few may know Preston's work, Barnaby helped release several films from Saturday Night Live talents, including Dan Aykroyd (Coneheads) and Chris Farley (Tommy Boy). The eponymous Pixie (Olivia Cooke, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl) wants to seek retribution for her dying mother by organizing a heist of a rival family (headed by Alec Baldwin, The Departed). She needs her Dad (Colm Meaney, Layer Cake) to help in it as he is the head of the other family but before that, the film shows Pixie and her friends Frank (Ben Hardy, Bohemian Rhapsody) and Harland (Daryl McCormack) as they travel across the country and evade trouble.
On similar films set in Ireland and focus on heists and/or crime, there seems to be a bingo card of sorts as you watch them. Typically, you get shots of the beautiful scenery, scenes with quirky Irish citizens, maybe there is a dusting mise en scene where an outsider from England or America is trying to get accustomed to being in Ireland and hijinks abound! On the latter in Pixie, Baldwin plays a priest (or inhabits a priest's robes) with an Irish lilt which is a little jarring at the beginning but you get used to it.
Meanwhile, Meaney appears to have found a niche playing the head of an Irish crime family who also has some emotional nuance, so good on him. He handles his portion of things as you would expect him to for this genre, but he and Baldwin are supporting actors in the story that Cooke, Hardy and McCormack carry, which Cooke does more than the others, but even still that story seems like…a road picture? A romance? A double cross? I don't know, Pixie the character and the film don't seem to know, and the movie's early momentum fades away as a result.
I guess modern Irish cinema has made it to a degree because now they have films that are overrated, underrated and disappointing, and I think Pixie falls into that latter silo. The performances are fine but unremarkable, and the story starts promising but eventually fades into a near incomprehensive state that could leave the viewer angrier than at the start of the film, for all the things they experienced in the time before that.The DVD:
1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen for Pixie which gets to show off the Irish countryside as much as standard definition allows! The colors look natural and vivid as do flesh tones of the numerous Irish and non-Irish amongst the ensemble, black levels are fine and overall it looks solid for this particular media.The Sound:
Paramount gives the film a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack that shows off the music through the film and helps to emphasize the third act climax. In between, dialogue sounds clear and well-balanced, but there isn't any notable channel panning or directional effects, other than the aforementioned firefight in a church. Nothing special but reproduces things fine.Extras:
There are almost enough ingredients to make Pixie an appealing film, but the main ingredient is the one that you rely on the most to give you that satisfaction, and it tapers out after opening with some potential. Technically, the disc is fine and the extras are non-existent. I'd probably watch The Guard or something else if I wanted to be taken to the Emerald Isle.