Friday, February 9, 2007

Factory Girl Review

Is this shallow art or is there something deeper that begs to be discovered?

I went into Factory Girl with no expectations whatsoever. I had read a few reviews beforehand but nothing to influence my mindset before entering the theatre. Even with a blank slate in front of me as I took my seat, I left the cinema with a sour taste in my mouth.

The film, which was directed by George Hickenlooper (Dogtown), stars a determined Sienna Miller (Layer Cake) as Edie Sedwick, a art-school dropout who moves to New York with aspirations of fame. There she meets the unconventional artist Andy Warhol, who is played by the versatile Guy Pearce (Memento), and he sets her on the path towards stardom.

What bothered me most about Factory Girl is how it would stop and focus on an idea or subject, only to skip away quickly before the audience could grasp what Hickenlooper was trying to get across. While the plot is easy to understand, the movie is quite confusing because you aren't sure what the director is saying about the subject matter. Hickenlooper also fails to flesh out the story in certain situations, often trying to narrate the story through the weak dialogue instead of visually, or both. Now, I respect a film that doesn't spoon-feed its audience, but I felt that Factory Girl was a poorly done narrative with little substance or grip.

Another thing that got under my skin was the way Hickenlooper treats the characters in his film. With the exception of Edie and Warhol, all the characters are portrayed as flat and undeveloped. Some get a chunk of film's running time but we never get to see them evolve, making them easily forgettable.

Now, both Sienna Miller and Guy Pearce try their best to save the film but it's unsuccessful. While they both do a good job, it's the static characters played by the likes of Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen), Jimmy Falon, Edward Herrmann, and James Naughton that ruin the illusion and bring you out of the film. They aren't necessarily bad actors, it's just that the subject matter they're working with isn't the best.

While some will enjoy Factory Girl as a period piece or for it's gratuitous nudity, I can't overlook the previously mentioned mistakes. It's not a bad film, just one that could have been developed more through a better script and director.

Have you seen Factory Girl? Let me know what you thought, leave a comment.


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