For serious rock fans, especially those who remember the influential 1975-79 all-girl group of the title, docu “Edgeplay: A Film About the Runaways” will be a gig they won’t want to miss. Helmed by former Runaways member Victory Tischler-Blue (aka bassist Vicki Blue), pic offers original interview material with nearly all the group’s one-time power-pop princesses except for its most famous member, Joan Jett, who kaboshed use of her music. Story of sex, drugs, exploitation and burnout proves inevitably compelling, but too much repetitive “he said, she said” feedback blunts the edge.
Lack of rights to music by both Jett and the group’s erstwhile Svengali, Kim Fowley, hobbles efforts to illustrate the Runaways’ original sound, and pic must rely on new music and archive material to fill in story gaps. Still, concert footage from the time gets across the flavor of the girls’ spiky personas. The now-fortysomething women reveal various shades of bitterness as they recount their rise and fall, their stories frequently contradicting each other. Bitchy atmosphere threatens to grow wearisome after 80 minutes, but participants’ strong personalities keep it real.