Helmed by the Italian-born music video director Floria Sigismondi and shot in a golden, mottled light, The Runaways is as stylishly honey-toned and authentically grubby as it is kick ass in its portrait of female energy chained to the universally cathartic force of rock and roll. Mopey and solemn, with her chin perpetually dug into her neck, Joan Jett (Kristin Stewart) is a budding rocker in search of a band. She hooks up with notorious Los Angeles record producer Kim Fowley (Michael Shannon), who recognizes the novelty value in an all-girl rock act. Fowley, a creep in glam-rock lipstick and eyeshadow, goes after a pretty singer, Cherie Currie (Dakota Fanning), to endow the band with some sex appeal. Threatening to steal the show from all the girl power is the hypnotic Shannon as the darkly charismatic and self-interested Runaways manager. Sigismondi is undeniably the right woman to tackle the Runaways story with her own rocker looks and counterculture sensibility. A music video director for bands like Marilyn Manson, the White Stripes, and the Cure, Sigismondi brings something of the music video-maker’s kit bag to The Runaways. She has style to burn, shooting with a maximum of grit and haze and sexy bursts of swoony excess. Sigismondi is less accomplished at building a sustained effort: the film lags a little near the end as Currie stumbles through the usual rock ‘n’ roll curse of dead-end drug addiction.