A furious 16-year-old girl cuts her hair in big, violent gestures. This is how we meet Apple, the messed-up heroine of Gimme Shelter, just before she escapes her mother’s grungy, violent household.
Along with cutting her ties to her drug-addled, irresponsible mother, this hair-chopping could also be read as a symbolic act on the part of the actress playing Apple. Vanessa Hudgens found teen stardom as one of Disney’s High School Musical breakouts, and taking on movies like this (and last year’s cuckoo Spring Breakers) is a way of graduating to a different kind of professional status.
As a career-changer, Gimme Shelter is great for Hudgens. She’s completely convincing in it, a dark ball of coiled anger and inchoate acting-out. The rest of the movie doesn’t live up to her performance.