• Nate Adams

Review: Olivia Cooke anchors breezy Irish gangster flick 'Pixie'


Courtesy of Saban Films

Taking a few notes from the broad, in-your-face zaniness of Guy Ritchie meshed with wisecracking quips and blunt violence of Quentin Tarantino, British producer turned director Barnaby Thompson hits all the sweet spots in his debut feature “Pixie.” An old fashioned Irish gangster flick with a buzzy cast including Olivia Cook, Ben Hardy, Alec Baldwin (doing a hazy Irish accent), and Colm Meaney, “Pixie” may seem like a lightweight treatment of a Martin McDonagh script, but there’s enough wit and humor on the surface to solidify its own identity.


Cooke takes the reigns as Pixie, a gorgeous and sophisticated heroine who understands the workings of her small-town gangster stepfather (Meaney) where she can manipulate a string of ex-lovers to stage an elaborate drug heist. When shit hits the fan, Pixie flees with two earnest losers: Frank (Hardy) and Harland (Daryl McCormack) who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Along the way, there’s inevitable sexual tension among the trio, and they concoct a scheme involving stolen drugs and heading to San Francisco, but not if infamous mobster Father McGrath (Baldwin) has anything to say about it.


“Pixie” marks another slick vehicle for Cooke who gives Thompson’s film loads of gonzo energy while John de Borman’s cinematography offers a stunning view of Ireland's gorgeous west coast. Hardy and McCormack get to spar with murderous gangsters and occasionally react to the situation around them, but Baldwin seems to have the most fun hamming it up as Father McGrath, a dual pistol wielding priest who leads his machine gun possy in prayer before heading into a climatic, and immensely enjoyable church shootout.


Despite the road-trip aspect hankering down Preston Thompson’s speedy screenplay - “Pixie” runs a graceful 93 minutes - and two loverboys, Hardy and McCormack, lacking palpable chemistry with Cooke, “Pixie” overcomes those bumpy patches with cheeky gangster humor that doesn’t so much knock-off comparable pictures, but exists to mingle alongside them. Whether you’re talking about “Snatch,” or “The Boondock Saints,” Thompson’s “Pixie” deserves to be in the conversation.


Grade: B


PIXIE opens In Select Theaters, on Digital and On Demand Friday, March 5, 2021