This Quinn is far from mighty in dull bipoic of Factory life
by Michael Joyce Factory Girl (15) Directed by George Hickenlooper Starring Sienna Miller, Guy Pearce, Hayden Christensen, Jimmy Fallon, Shawn Hatosy, Mena Suvari 91 minutes One star rating New York in the mid to late 60s – Pop Art, Factory, psychedelia, Velvet Undergro
Factory Girl (15)
Directed by George Hickenlooper
Starring Sienna Miller, Guy Pearce, Hayden Christensen, Jimmy Fallon, Shawn Hatosy, Mena Suvari 91 minutes
One star rating
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New York in the mid to late 60s - Pop Art, Factory, psychedelia, Velvet Underground, Dylan, Chelsea Hotel, heroin - what a scene.
Give thanks you weren't there.
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Back then Andy Warhol made some incredibly dull films starring Edie Sedgwick and the rest of his Factory "superstars".
Now director George Hickenlooper pays homage to him by making an incredibly dull biopic about Sedgwick's life and early death. While Warhol put very little effort into his film-making, beyond pointing an often out-of-focus camera at whoever he deemed "fabulous", a fair amount of effort has gone into this attempt to chronicle those times. The picture flicks between colour and black and white, clear and grainy, as different film stocks are used to try to capture the feel of the times.
Guy Pearce is simply superb as Warhol. With his pale, blotchy skin, the odd wig and passive yet predatory manner, he's so creepy he could be a serial killer that Hannibal Lector tries to aid from his prison cell. The film charges and convicts him of sucking the life out of vulnerable and unstable Edie and then cruelly dropping her in a sulk because of her liaison with Bob Dylan, yet he's still the most sympathetic character in the piece.
Brilliant as Pearce is, he's overshadowed by Hayden Christensen who, as the musician character Billy Quinn, who must never (for legal reasons) be called Bob Dylan, turns in what is either a ferocious deconstruction of one of the 20th century's most revered icons or one of the greatest unintentionally hilarious performances in the history of cinema. After turning Darth Vader into a sulky teenager, Christensen plays Dylan some kind of brooding biker boy. It's exquisitely embarrassing, like Richard Madeley doing Ali G, but much worse.
It doesn't invite derision, it positively demands it. His Dylan is a ridiculous pipsqueak figure, strutting around smugly mumbling his self-satisfied enigmatic little epigrams. I'm no fan of Mr Dylan, but he surely deserves better than this. Hell, Milli Vanilli deserve better
Stuck between them, Miller's first major lead goes by almost unnoticed.
She's good, but when, over the end credits, contemporaries such as George Plimpton come on to offer testimonials as to what a special person Sedgwick was, you do wonder who they're talking about.
So the final score at the end of the movie is Warhol - creepy but intriguing, Sedgwick - pretty but dull, the 'Dylanesque' character - laughable phoney. I'll leave it to you to argue if those are accurate reflections of those involved.