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.
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