DVD Review: Factory Girl (Unrated)
Release Date: July 17, 2007
Distributor: The Weinstein Company
· George Hickenlooper
· Sienna Miller
· Guy Pearce
· Jimmy Fallon
· Brian Bell
· IMDb: Factory Girl
by R.J. Carter
Published: July 17, 2007
Sienna Miller puts on a heckuva show as Edie Sedgwick, one of America's premiere "It" girls. Before Lindsey Lohan, before Paris Hilton -- in fact, before they were even born -- there was Edie Sedgwick: the product of old money and a family so dysfunctional the term can't fully encapsulate it.
"Factory Girl" opens at the point in Edie's life where she leaves college to go to New York with her friend Chuck Wein (Jimmy Fallon) to encounter real artists. She exhibits an early fascination with the work of Andy Warhol (Guy Pearce) and is soon introduced to the pop artist at a society function.
Warhol is instantly smitten with Edie, and brings her to The Factory, the studio where Warhol works on his paintings and makes underground films with his entourage. One can't help but view the scene as a collection of societal outcasts and misfits who gather unto themselves a collective feeling of superiority over the rest of the world to mask their innate strangeness. When a horse in the studio begins to balk at the gay cowboy scene Warhol is loosely directing, Edie intervenes to calm the animal, and Warhol's admiration and obsession with the young girl becomes fully ignited.
Obsession later turns to jealousy, however, when Sedgwick has a chance photo encounter with up and coming musician Lou Reed (Brian Bell), who later enters into an affair with Edie as he tries to convince her to leave Warhol's clique; he doesn't "get" the soupcan paintings, and he finds the so-called filmwork laughable, even when he agrees to appear in one, insisting that Warhol actually direct him in it rather than just let the camera roll uncontrolled.
Smitten. Andy Warhol is introduced to Edie Sedgwick
(L-R: Miller, Pearce)
Edie's lavish spending soon lands her in financial trouble. Her trust fund depleted, her work for Warhol having gone largely unpaid, Edie spirals into a freefall of alcohol and drug abuse. Warhol cavalierly exiles her from his social circles, and her former friend Chuck becomes very much not her friend, subjecting her to more abuse. Ultimately, it's Syd Pepperman (Shawn Hatosy) who comes to her rescue, getting her the hospital care she needs. Unfortunately, for those who know their history of the time, it was too little and too late.
"I don't pay attention to what they write, I just measure it in inches."|
-- Guy Pearce as Andy Warhol on newspaper critics
Guy Pearce succeeds enormously in his portrayal of the effete and depraved Andy Warhol; the character on the screen couldn't have been less likeable if it were Warhol himself. Made equally detestable is Edie's molesting father, Fuzzy Sedgwick, thanks to the acting skills of James Naughton. Look for Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Warhol groupie Ingrid Superstar, and the sharp-eyed among viewers will spot an uncredited Mary-Kate Olsen in the crowd at the art gallery scene.
George Hickenlooper uses some interesting techniques in this film, using 60s side-by-side framings in some places, and going back and forth between color and monochrome when capturing filmed conversations between Warhol and Sedgwick. It's a tragic story, all told, about a woman who escaped one ring of hell only to willingly fall right into another one.
This being the unrated version of the film, viewers can expect more nudity (including the controversially realistic sex scene between Miller and Bell), disturbing scenes of sexuality, and abundant drug use.
Bonus features on this release include a feature commentary track with Hickenlooper, an eighty second deleted scene (unfinished), and a twenty minute candid and funny behind the scenes look at the shooting of the film through "Guy Pearce's Video Diary." This amateur footage is more entertaining than the ten minute official "making of" featurette, also included.
There's also a half hour documentary I recommend viewing. "The Real Edie" includes interviews with the people who knew her, including her brother Jonathan and photographer Nat Finkelstein. We learn here more details about life in the Sedgwick household that drove two brothers to suicide and a wife insane, living with a father who would ship his children to sanitariums for drugs when they had the temerity to mention having seen him in bed with another woman.
Finally, there's a seven minute clip of Sienna Miller auditioning for the part, which is almost like a Warhol film in and of itself, consisting of Miller sitting, smoking, and talking.
Audio is in English, with optional subtitles in English and Spanish.
Previews on this disc include "Penelope", "Come Early Morning", "Bobby", "Breaking and Entering", and "Miss Potter".