“Blonde. Purple” is a heist tale/hostage thriller with vague pretenses of Tarantino or Guy Ritchie and little of the style, panache, wit or adrenalin of either of them at their worst.
The odd moment of acting heat dissipates in a sea of words, too much of it set in a bank where a failed robber holds a teen singer hostage and they talk and talk and talk, never going for pithy, punchy brevity when 175 extraneous words are somebody’s notion of the minimum required for a “soliloquy.”
Writer-director Marcus Flemmings (“Palindrome”) lets it drone on for over two hours, at least 90 minutes of which feel wasted.
A sweaty, panicked young man (Julian Moore-Cook) with a battered pistol gets in shouting matches with “Aaron, your crisis negotiator,” who admits to a “temper” problem” with “toxic masculinity” issues. His partner was shot as they attempted their get-away, a dozen hostages in their hands and he’s flipping out.
Madison (Ellie Bindman) may be the most unrealistically relaxed, coy and confident hostage-held-at-gunpoint in screen history. Sure, she’s a “singer, kinda famous” or so she claims. Nothing but pretty white teen girl privilege could explain her temperament, and that’s not enough.
Through flashbacks, we get a taste of the heist as it was set up — the parole officer (Jennifer Lee Moon) leading the young man his “friendly hostage negotiator” calls “Mr. You” who plays a role in the planning, the verbose partner he’s set up with — Nath (Adam J. Bernard) — and his mouthy, cynical girlfriend (Jessica Murrain).
Scenes mimic Tarantino/Ritchie gangster banter, debating the relative merits of Nic Cage and Johnny Depp, “Scarface” and “Shawshank Redemption,” Julius Caesar and this one diner most everybody ends up in, repeatedly, screaming “Some SERVICE here” because there never is any.
“You seen ‘Wages of Fear? You see that film, ‘Straight Time?'”
Did I mention it’s British? The people inside the bank and the hostage negotiator lack accents, but most of the other characters do, and everybody’s English usages — “That last job went Hitchcockian (‘pear-shaped,’ as the Brits say)”give them away.
Ex-con Nath may counsel first-time-robber “Mr. You” that “It’s not about the job, it’s about the getaway.” But the long-winded clown brings a 1976 MGB convertible as their getaway car.
At several points, you snap to attention at the realization that this is so wordy it turns disorganized. The writer-director loses the thread. Scenes exist to just give extra actors a role in the larger, run-on conversation. The guys discuss “the job” with people who don’t have a damned thing to do “the job,” it turns out.
Hey, if you think a tiny, classic 50+ year old convertible is the ideal “inconspicuous” get away vehicle, maybe you don’t want to get away.
Or the writer-director had access to one cool looking car and made the best of it. The movie is a collection of indulgences, directing, screenwriting or acting.
All this abuse aside, there are some nice acting moments — rants and breakdowns, with Bernard, Moore-Cook and even a vampy, over-the-top Moon making impressions.
But even that’s a stretch. At some point, “Blonde. Purple” became all indulgences and nothing else.
Rating: TV-14, violence, near nudity, profanity
Cast: Julian Moore-Cook, Ellie Bindman, Adam J. Bernard, Jennifer Lee Moon, Jessica Murrain and the voice of Nicholas Gray.
Credits: Scripted and directed by Marcus Flemmings. A 1091 release.
Running time: 2:09