Archive for the ‘Reviews '06’ Category

Factory Girl (2006) DVD Review

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

Dropping out of Art College, Edie Sedgwick (Miller) heads to New York to be inspired and in 1965 one man was the main inspiration, Andy Warhol (Pearce). After meeting him at a party, Edie quickly becomes his muse, starring in his artist movies and becoming the centre of his artist circle of friends at his warehouse studio, the Factory. Promising to make her a star, Andy Warhol transforms her from little rich girl into New York ‘It’ girl and the talk of the town but as Edie becomes consumed by the trappings of fame, Andy starts to think she is becoming more famous than him.

The enigma that was Andy Warhol drew many a character to him but none shone as brightly as Edie Sedgwick.
The label of ‘It Girl’ has been given to many a model, actress or socialite since the 1920s. From Clara Bow to Paris Hilton, the It Girl has always been a fascination for the media and then the public alike, as they watch every move they make. There whole lives are lived with the media industry watching, as they attend events, functions, premieres and parties mixing with the most famous and powerful people on the planet, even though they have no real talent themselves.

Rich heiress Edie Sedgwick was one of those ‘It Girls’ that became a fascination in late 60s New York. The art school drop out who came to the Big Apple to be inspired, she was exactly that when she met up and coming artist Andy Warhol. The man famous for his paintings of American products like ‘Campbell’s Soup Cans’ and his paintings of celebrities Marilyn Monroe, Troy Donahue, and Elizabeth Taylor, transformed the women in his life into ‘Superstars’ and Eddie was one of them. Consumed by the bohemian eccentric lifestyle of parties, drugs and overly artistic and erotic movies, Edie adored the attention and the extravagance but it also led to her been consumed by addiction and spending all her inheritance.

This rise and subsequence fall of one of 60s New York’s best-known It Girls is a story with cinematic aspirations all over it and it was going to be a challenge for any actress to play her. Director George Hickenlooper and his creative team have ironically chosen a modern It Girl to bring Edie Sedgwick to life but Sienna Miller is more than just a paparazzi darling. Mainly known for gracing the pages of every celebrity magazine and for her relationship with Jude Law but Sienna Miller has main a name for herself as an actress after appearing in ‘Layer Cake’, ‘Alfie’ and ‘Casanova’ but it is this role that will finally give her the recognition she deserves. This is a performance that will finally get her taken seriously as an actress and should launch her career as an actress, finally moving her away from her celebrity darling image that has become the obsession of the media.

Equally excellent is the performance of Guy Pearce as Andy Warhol. Known for his total consumption of a role, Pearce becomes the famous artist completely, bringing his mannerisms and eccentricities to life. This proves again that Pearce is an astonishing actor. Hayden Christensen moves away from the Star Wars universe to star as fiction character Billy Quinn, obviously based on Bob Dylan. With questions about his abilities as an actor plaguing his career, this role gives him the chance to show that he can actually act. There are also good performances from Mena Suvari, Shawn Hatosy and comedian Jimmy Fallon, playing it straight for a while.

‘Factory Girl’ is a movie about a bohemian time and a girl pulled in by the trappings of fame and the lure of celebrity. The only problem is that none of the characters are not very likable and Edie herself isn’t the most sympathetic but this is still a fascinating tale and one that takes you back to the sixties.


Presented in Widescreen 1.85:1 Anamorphic with a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, the transfer is good.


Commentary by Director George Hickenlooper
In this informative, single person commentary reveals the difference between this unrated and extended version of the movie and why the director wanted to add more scenes into this version. He talks extensively his actors, talking passionately the contributions of Sienna Miller, Guy Pearce and the comedy from Jimmy Fallon. He also talks about filming in Louisiana, creating the era and adding additional scenes shot in New York. This is a good commentary that fans of the film should enjoy listening to.

Deleted Scene (1.21 mins)
Entitled ‘We’re all Lost’, this deleted scene has optional commentary by director George Hickenlooper.

The Real Edie (28.21 mins)
Director George Hickenlooper is joined by friends, family and people who knew Edie Sedgwick to talk about her life and what she was actually like. The group talks about her family, Fuzzy, the ranch where she grew up, the asylums she was sent to, moving to New York and meeting Andy Warhol. This is an informative insight into Edie’s life by the people who knew her.

Guy Pearce’s Video Diary (19.54 mins)
The star of the film takes us behind the scenes of the production of the movie and talks to director George Hickenlooper, Sienna Miller, Jack Huston and many others with Jimmy Fallon providing most of the comedy. This is a fun behind the scenes diary that shows how the ensemble came together to tell Edie Sedgwick’s story.

Making Factory Girl (9.54 mins)
Director George Hickenlooper and stars Sienna Miller, Guy Pearce and Jimmy Fallon talk about bringing Edie’s story to life to the silver screen.

Theatrical Trailer (2.12 mins)
Watch the trailer that previewed the film in theatres and on the internet.

Previews of ‘Penelope’, ‘Come Early Morning’, ‘Bobby’, ‘Breaking and Entering’ and ‘Miss Potter’


The DVD treatment for ‘Factory Girl’ is very good. With a good commentary track and some excellent featurettes, fans of the film should be very pleased.


Derby Girl

Friday, February 27th, 2009

I know award-quality when I see it, and Sienna Miller’s capturing of Edie Sedgwick — the doomed mid ’60s scenester and Andy Warhol girl who died in ‘71 at age 28 — in George Hickenlooper’s Factory Girl (Weinstein Co.) totally rates. It may be the most eerily accurate reviving of a dead person I’ve ever seen in a film. And yet Miller projects dimension and gravitas in spades — an unmistakable sadness and snap and aliveness like nothing I’ve gotten from an actress in any movie so far this year.

If and when the Weinstein Co. puts Factory Girl into theatres before 12.31 (which may happen, I’m now hearing), Miller will be right in there against Prada’s Meryl Streep, The Queen’s Helen Mirren, Notes on a Scandal’s Judi Dench and maybe Running With Scissors’ Annette Benning. She’s playing the only tragic figure in the group — the only one who goes to her doom with mascara running down her face.

Miller isn’t just a dead ringer for the real McCoy — she gets her fluttery debutante laugh, that mixture of Warholian cool and little-girl terror, the giddy euphoria, the cracked voice. It’s more than convincing — it’s a kind of rebirthing. (I feel I can say this with some authority having seen the real Sedgwick in John Palmer and David Weisman’s Ciao Manhattan! way back when, and having looked at her photos for years.)

Hickenlooper’s film is a kind of rebirthing also. Most of it feels like a mid to late ’60s Paul Morrissey film. It has a grungy Manhattan, Collective for Living Cinema, 16mm street quality, like it was shot two or three years before Flesh and Lonesome Cowboys and maybe a year or two after Empire State and Blow Job.

Hickenlooper gives it discipline and tension, working from a tight script by Captain Mauzner but styling in the realm of the Warhol-Morrissey aesthetic, which could be summed up as “don’t recreate anything, just behave and let it happen.”

This is obviously a nervy approach (the person who recently informed a WWD writer that Factory Girl is “kind of a mess” has probably never seen a Warhol -Morrisey film) but with nerve comes a feeling of other-ness. For my money the raw-funk approach works without the viewer needing a NYU degree in Film Studies.

I’m not going to do a review because the disc I saw was rough and incomplete — there’s plenty of time to get into it down the line. But I should at least mention Guy Pearce’s Warhol portrayal, which for me is much drier and colder and more delicious than Jared Harris’s portrayal in I Shot Andy Warhol or Crispin Glover’s in The Doors. The rumble in the jungle is that Weinstein Co. execs feels Guy’s performance is Oscar-worthy also.

And Hayden Christensen’s performance of an obviously Bob Dylan-ish figure is, for me, the most engaging thing he’s ever done.

Here are some thoughts from a critic friend who caught Factory Girl under similar circumstances:

“Sienna Miller’s performance is a revelation on several levels — most importantly of her great solar talent; she’s riveting and charismatic in every instant, whether Edie is in meteor-mode or downfall. Hickenlooper was so right to fight for her to play the role. I’m a highly dedicated devotee of the real Edie so I began watching the film with the bar of expectation set extra-high. Well, old Sienna not only vaulted that bar, she blasted the tiles right out of the ceiling and kept going. Edie Lives.

“I’m also still marveling at Guy Pearce’s otherworldly Andy Warhol — a breathtaking creation of a man whose ghost haunts himself. I’m also deeply impressed with Hayden Christensen’s osmosis of the Mystery-Tramp-Who-Shall-Remain- Nameless. I’ve always thought highly of this young actor — he’s still developing, but his instincts are first-rate. As one who has long loved Dylan, I deeply respected where Hayden was able to fish within himself to bring that very difficult prodigy to light.

“I think of Factory Girl as a kind of female Lawrence of Arabia. I’m serious. Edie is an opaque, enigmatic figure by definition, just as T.E. Lawrence was. There is never any ‘explaining’ such a character — we can only experience them, the way anyone who loved them in life might have. That way we can love Edie. Start slow, and people will adore the rush as the film takes off, and maybe even feel a bit scared on her behalf as we lose sight of the girl she is in the film’s beginning moments.

“I feel quite highly of the energy and verve of Mauzner’s screenplay, and feel that Hickenlooker has gone one better and energized the story. Hickenlooper and Mauzner have located Edie in a kind of ‘permanent present-tense’ (as opposed to a period), and I’m willing to bet audiences will embrace her anew, and with her, the film.”