I Shot Andy Warhol

1996, Movie, R, 103 mins

Review

I SHOT ANDY WARHOL
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On June 3, 1968, Andy Warhol was shot and nearly killed by an obscure would-be writer named Valerie Solanas, now the subject of an arty biopic. The most memorable image here gives us Andy (Jared Harris) and Valerie (Lili Taylor) together on the periphery of one of Warhol's legendary parties, twin wallflowers at the flaming creatures' ball. But that provocative notion is the high point of Mary Harron's disappointing debut feature, which re-creates the Manhattan of Warhol's jaded poseurs with such palpable longing that you want to send her off to a screening of NICO ICON for a reality check. The film's greatest liability is that it buys into some revisionist notion of the pathetic, self-destructive Solanas -- founder and sole member of the Society for Cutting Up Men (SCUM) -- as a victimized feminist, a genuinely brilliant conceptual artist driven mad by oppressive society and the cruelly fickle attentions of Warhol and his mannered entourage. The film does nothing to demythologize the '60s; rather, it uses prevailing myths as a substitute for critical thinking. But we'll award bonus points for a series of brilliant impersonations of Factory scene makers: Stephen Dorff as fragile transvestite Candy Darling, Michael Imperioli as the foul-mouthed speed freak Ondine, Craig Chester as unctuous Fred Hughes and Reg Rogers as a spiteful Paul Morrissey. Harris's Warhol, a simpering waxwork in a white wig, could fuel rumors that Andy lives -- as much as he ever did, at any rate. leave a comment

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I Shot Andy Warhol: Includes Valerie Solanas's SCUM Manifesto
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