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Friday, February 16, 2007

FACTORY GIRL (2006) - George Hickenlooper

Factory Girl, George Hickenlooper's biopic of Andy Warhol muse, Edie Sedgwick enters the cinema this month, and the big question is, should we care? The answer is, no. I will admit, I know nothing about this girl, so I will go on what I saw in the film. Edie Sedgwick, a socialite from a wealthy family, drops out of art college and high-tails it to New York. There, she is introduced to Andy Warhol and his cadre of weirdos who populate the famous Factory, painting pictures of soup cans and making odd films about horses. Warhol is enamored with Sedgwick and turns her into a pop-art icon. She is introduced to Billy Quinn (or quite obviously, Bob Dylan), becomes a victim to drug addiction and is quite coldly dumped from Warhol's inner circle once he becomes jealous of her relationship with Dylan, sorry, Quinn. Drug trip, irrational behavior, redemption, a wander down a rehab centre hallway in slow motion, and fade out. That is the life of Edie Sedgwick. Or that's what I got from the film.

There is one interesting thing about this movie, and that is Guy Pearce's turn as Warhol. His eccentric lifestyle, and highly insecure nature make for interesting viewing, but beyond this, the film offers nothing. Sienna Miller gives it socks as Edie Sedgwick. However, her character garners very little sympathy as she mopes and whinges her way through the film. This, after all, is a little rich girl who blows all her money on drugs provided by the superficial friends she surrounds herself with and ends up in rehab. That is literally it.
One special mention must be given to Hayden Christensen. Many doubted this man could prove himself an actor after his profoundly wooden performance as Mannequin Skywalker in the Star Wars prequals. Well, you know what? Those people were absolutely right. I'm currently trying to remove the splinters I received from yet another wooden turn as Bob Dylan caricature Billy Quinn. His voice fluctuates up and down and up again like some Dylan impersonator taking Dylan's singing style and applying it to the way he speaks. And I'm pretty sure Dylan doesn't finish every sentence he speaks with the word 'babe.' But the screenplay says he does.
The film wants us to care about Edie Sedgwick. To the point of getting her brother, and some artist friends of hers to pontificate about how good a person Sedgwick was over the closing credits. Maybe she was as good a person as they preach. But having viewed this film, I don't care. And neither will you.

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