French director Laurent Cantet's adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates' 1993 novel (filmed already in 1996 with Angelina Jolie) is a curiously stilted affair.
This is ostensibly about a girl gang in 1950s upstate New York but it is shot in naturalistic fashion, in muted colour, as if it's a European art-house film.
The girls, even when they smoke, curse and rob lecherous men, aren't remotely convincing as teen delinquents.
Only when a kidnapping goes disastrously wrong is there any edge or urgency in the storytelling. Cantet avoids the clichés of 1950s-set teen movies.
There are no references to Elvis or James Dean but there isn't much energy, either. Cantet makes some trenchant points about sexism and hypocrisy in the American society of the era but the girl gang seem closer to Swallows and Amazons than they do the Wild Ones.