Pixie (3 stars)

Pixie

Olivia Cooke brings significant charisma to a crime caper featuring Alec Baldwin and Colm Meaney

'I should probably let you know upfront that I'm partial to an adventure,' admits the mischievous Pixie (Olivia Cooke) in this chipper, farce-fuelled crime comedy from British director Barnaby Thompson (St. Trinian's), with a script penned by his son Preston. It's a pinwheeling, Sligo-set romp that riffs on better films – Pulp Fiction, Bande à Part – but offers decent-sized doses of Irish eccentricity and charm.

Pixie pits common-or-garden gangsters against gangster priests, in a script that devilishly asks: 'given the Catholic Church's propensity for cover-ups, what else might it be capable of?' The deliberately chaotic narrative sees the titular protagonist team up with a pair of sexually desperate stooges (Ben Hardy and Daryl McCormack) to try and shift MDMA stolen from corrupt priests. Their head honcho (Alec Baldwin) wants it back, his criminal rival, played by Colm Meaney – who just so happens to be Pixie's stepfather – is pursuing the trio too, while Ned Dennehy and Dylan Moran pop up as some supplementary bastards.

The classiness of the ensemble enriches an affable but unremarkable caper, but the real selling point is the casting of Cooke (Vanity Fair, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl), who brings vast quantities of charisma to her role as a master manipulator of menfolk. It's not uncommon for a performer to stand out from the crowd, but it's less so for one to walk so brassily away with a movie that you suspect they could have done it solo. There's some embarrassingly on the nose feminism in the final moments, but the film's intentions are evidently honourable and, like its heroine, it can be difficult to resist.

Available to watch in cinemas from Fri 23 Oct.

Pixie

  • 3 stars
  • 2020
  • UK
  • Directed by: Barnaby Thompson
  • Cast: Olivia Cooke, Alec Baldwin, Ben Hardy
  • UK release: 23 October 2020

A young woman plans a heist to avenge her mother's death, only to be chased by gangsters across Ireland.

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