Apr 1, 2014

Review: Strike! (1998)

It looks like this film had a little difficulty getting itself out there to the masses. It was financed by Alliance Atlantis and picked up by Miramax, small/indie film expert of the 90's. It was given no less than three titles depending on the market; Stike! for Canada, All I Wanna Do for the US and only Australia got the original title of The Hairy Bird. I can understand the decision from a marketing point of view, but both the Canadian and American titles are particularly boring. Are us North Americans that afraid of hints at penises? 

The film announces itself as quirky from the opening credits. We're introduced to Abby Sawyer, played by Rachael Leigh Cook, who gets put into a private all-girls boarding school because she got caught trying to have sex with a boy. She's strong-willed and she's got an interesting mastery of the English language. However, it looks like her worst fears are going to come true when shown around the school. It's stuffy, proper and there's no way she'll ever be free to be herself.

That changes however when she meets troublemaker Verena von Stefan played by a gleeful Kirsten Dunst. She definitely takes on the role well. She acts as the ringleader of a group of like-minded, rebellious girls like herself. They don't buy into Miss Godard's culture of prim and proper, they play by their own rules which is right up Abby's alley. 

Female empowerment is definitely a theme here and I guess that's the kind of thing that will drive away any sort of male viewers. It stands pretty true because it's one of the rare movies on IMDB that has more female voters than male voters. That's really a rare occurrence and I always find it fascinating when it happens. Seriously, even most "chick flicks" have more male votes.

Anyway, males should chill, this movie is not about castrating them. It's set in 1963 when we all know women got the short end of the stick. Yes, I'll admit that there were a few scenes that I felt like I was intruding but just grin and bear it. The reality is that Miss Godard's is struggling financially and when it gets approached to go co-ed with an all-boys private school, well it sure would make sense to go through with the merge wouldn't it? To preserve the school's heritage and whatnot. 

Well Verena won't stand for it and she takes it upon herself to sabotage the whole idea. This leads to conflict within her group of friends as they're not all necessarily on the same page. There are some amusing moments from time to time but the representations of the 60's is perhaps a bit superficial at times. 

It peaks in tumultuous fashion and ties up everything maybe a bit too easily but it's overall a perfectly decent movie. Cook and Dunst play good characters who have depth and their struggle is real, but fun at the same time. 


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