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Holy Smoke 1999

While on a journey of discovery in exotic India, beautiful young Ruth Barron falls under the influence of a charismatic religious guru. Her desperate parents then hire PJ Waters, a macho...

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Imdb rating: 5.9



Jane Campion's film Holy Smoke! is so bland, predictable and lacking in any electricity, it makes the audience wonder how a supposedly-daring director could feel satisfied with this work. The film is supposed to be a battle-of-the-sexes comedy, I imagine, but Campion is also interested in making larger points about cultural assimilation. The result is not a comedy with depth, but an utterly unfunny film that meanders from one pointless scene to another. Kate Winslet plays Ruth Barron, an Australian woman who has separated from her family and moved to India...and in the process, become intoxicated with elements of Indian culture. Fearing that their daughter will become a new-age quack, Ruth's parents hire PJ Waters (Harvey Keitel), a counselor who is an expert at "de-programming" people and hopes he can "cure" Ruth. Predictably, Ruth does not turn out to be an easy case, and the film develops into a battle of wits charged with sexual tension between the two. Unfortunately, Campion has forgotten to make this battle particularly interesting: there is absolutely nothing memorable about the dialogue, and Ruth's theories about the male psychology are cliche and occasionally offensive. Keitel and Winslet are both actors capable of creating unique characters, but they seem to be sleepwalking through the picture, perhaps because they realize how inept the script is. As if to distract us from the fact that nothing much is happening, Campion injects certain bizarre scenes that only succeed in adding to the tedious nature of the movie. Holy Smoke! is so tepid and timid, it is difficult to believe that it was made by the same director who helmed 1993's film The Piano. While that film is certainly overrated and occasionally dull, it is at least a work of art that takes chances and doesn't settle into formulas. Campion seems to think that Holy Smoke! is such a work as well, but the audience knows better.

Just saw a documentary on Akira Kurosawa, does anyone else out there think he was a total genius? Ok, just me...
And is anyone else in love with Coldplay's second album? Ok, just me again...
Anyway, time for some new movie reviews! It's been a while since the last one, but i'm Australian, so hey! lol

Movie Ratings:

Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory - :fresh: 8/10
This movie is so fun and fresh! The sets are fantastic, and the acting is definitely first-rate, especially Gene Wilder. I get put down for liking this movie, but I really think everyone can enjoy it! The plot can sometimes get a bit over-the-top, but in the end it just adds to the whole quality of the movie. This is a classic, and I reccommend it to absolutely everyone.

Holy Smoke - :fresh: 6/10
I was a bit disappointed by this movies ending (which was were I was traumatized by Harvey Kietal in a dress...), but the start was so great. Full of twists and "what the?" moments, Holy Smoke was beautifully filmed, and the scenery was amazing, and the actors were superb (especially Kate Winslet, who is great in everything). The last third of the film turns into a weird, dream-like vision, and this brings the whole movie down. But all in all, this was the only bad thing. Writing, acting, photography, casting- all great. Worth a look, but really not a favourite of mine.

Full review to come.
Best in Show: Kate Winslet
One for the future: Kate Winslet
Stand-out scene: Keitel donning a dress
Brainer or no-brainer: Brainer
Stands up to one viewing or repeated?: Repeated
DVD commentary any good?: n/a

I adored Jane Campion's Sweetie when I caught it on TV a few years ago and have subsequently actively sought out her work. While this carries the same distinct obtuseness that polarises opinion on her films, she remains one of the most important female writer/directors plying her craft today. Once again this is a story with a strong female character at its heart. In this instance Sydney-born Ruth Barron is travelling in India when she falls under the influence of a Guru figure. Alarmed that she has joined a religious cult, her mother joins her and persuades her to return home to Australia by claiming that her father is terminally ill. With the Barrons enlisting the services of American exit counsellor P. J. Waters, Ruth is forced to undergo a three-day one-on-one intensive exit programme at an outback shack. However, the one-on-one attention becomes more than psychological when Waters falls for his young charge. Brave performances from Winslet and Keitel in which they physically and psychologically subsume themselves in their characters render this a movie with real impact, the sun-drenched locations adding a welcome extra dimension to its charm. We need more intelligent, thought-provoking films like this.
Girl joins cult. Family doesn't like it. Call in Harvey, acting very much like Mr.Wolf, to deprogram.

Watch 39 minutes of TV time. Get bored with it. Turn off.

That was my experience. What could have been interesting was not.

Well I did get to see Kate Winslet nude which is a big plus. And suprisingly Keitel shows a little flesh ;). Thats all I have to say about it as I found to be pretty bland and uninteresting.
oh its ok but too pissing movie....
Loved this movie-- one of my all-time faves. Winslet and Keitel are perfectly matched for these roles. Campion is revolutionary.
While I will give the film some props for the fact that the movie was well shot and well acted, but at times, I just couldn't figure out what the fu*k was going on throughout the movie. It went from India to wierd group orgies. Wierd
I only watched this movie because Kate Winslet was in it, and her acting was phenominal - but the storyline itself was neither here nor there....
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