Factory Girl
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E dir George Hickenlooper
scr Captain Mauzner
with Sienna Miller, Guy Pearce, Hayden Christensen, Jimmy Fallon, Shawn Hatosy, Mena Suvari, Illeana Douglas, James Naughton, Jack Huston, Beth Grant, Edward Herrmann, Mary Elizabeth Winstead
release US 29.Dec.06,
UK 16.Mar.07
06/US Yari 1h30
Factory Girl
Paparazzi fodder: Miller and Christensen

pearce fallon hatosy

Factory Girl A fascinating public figure is reduced to an uninteresting, unlikeable cliche in this stylish but only fitfully entertaining biopic.

Edie Sedgwick (Miller) came from an established American family to spark the imagination of Andy Warhol (Pearce), introduced by her close friend Chuck (Fallon). Meanwhile, her old boyfriend Syd (Hatosy) is now working with a terribly famous musician (Christensen), who catches Edie's eye. The problem is that Edie is caught up in Warhol's scene of drugs and vacuous glamour, while the musician tries to open her eyes to the larger world around her. And neither culture is compatible with her messy family background.

Hickenlooper certainly captures the textures and tone of Warhol's Factory, mixing film stocks and recreating people and places with impeccable detail. But that's all it is: surface imagery, like flipping through a coffee table book. The script never properly defines the characters, and as a result the cast can never bring them to life.

Miller certainly gives it her all, acting with every inch of her body (often stark naked, including a ludicrous soft-porn sex scene). But she never catches Sedgwick's intriguing spark; this Edie is an unlikeable, passive victim, torn apart by disloyal friends, cruel lovers and terrible addictions. It's impossible to care for her in any way. And a similar problem infects each character.

Pearce's Warhol is the most intriguing presence, as he devours everyone in his path, but there's not much more to him than that. Christensen does a bizarrely detailed Bob Dylan impersonation, although the script is careful never to name him, and the character never makes sense. Actually, everyone catches some interesting vibe, but we actively dislike them. So the fact that they dissolve into self-indulgence feels like poetic justice.

In the end, the film is stylish enough to keep us watching. But what should have been a clever and relevant look at the it-girl phenomenon becomes instead a superficial, pointless and surprisingly dull trudge. It also feels like a hatchet job, blaming everyone for the fate of this poor little rich girl. And it's only in the documentary clips during the closing credits that it comes to life.

cert 15 themes, language, sexuality, drugs 31.Jan.07

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2007 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall