HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Thunderclap
Zeiram
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Kimi
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Promare
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Winterhawk
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
B.N.A.
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Snatchers
Imperial Swordsman
Foxtrap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  Holy Smoke It's Not Like Programming Your Washing Machine
Year: 1999
Director: Jane Campion
Stars: Kate Winslet, Harvey Keitel, Julie Hamilton, Sophie Lee, Dan Wyllie, Paul Goddard, Tim Robertson, George Mangos, Kerry Walker, Les Dayman, Samantha Murray, Sandy Guttman, Simon Anderson, Pam Grier, Geneviève Lemon
Genre: Comedy, DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: When Ruth (Kate Winslet) visited India on holiday, she had an encounter which meant far more to her than she ever anticipated. Now she was full of the peace and love ethos of a cult guru there and planned to stay on in the country and leave her former life behind, much to the alarm of her mother (Julie Hamilton) who was determined to bring her wayward daughter back. After being told of the situation by Ruth's friend, a plan was concocted: they would pretend that Ruth's father (Tim Robertson) was seriously ill then send Mum to India to fetch her. Surely Ruth wouldn't turn down that invitation?

Well, yes she would if she thinks she can say goodbye to her dad in the next life, to her mother's dismay, so much so that the middle-aged woman collapses of an asthma attack soon after having her offer beatifically thrown back in her face. Ruth has to accompany her back to Australia now, and when she does the family pounces: they have arranged a cult deprogrammer to see to it that she leaves all this religious brainwashing behind, but the question we have to ask is whether she's leaving one form of brainwashing for another kind? Is she really any better stuck in suburbia than she is acting all spiritual in Delhi?

The answer to that question was something director Jane Campion, here scripting with her sister Anna Campion, shyed away from for the most part, preferring to allow the audience to make up their own minds, and effectively conceiving this as a two-hander between Ruth and the so-called "exiter", PJ Waters, played by Campion's star of her arthouse hit The Piano, Harvey Keitel. The thought of two not inconsiderable acting talents like him and Winslet facing off against each other was enough to generate some degree of interest among fans of such challenging drama, but not everyone was happy with the artificial results, with the sense that they were eavesdropping in on a psychotherapy session, or worse an actors' workshop, unconvincing and working against the desired effect.

But if you were willing to put aside such reservations, there were some intriguing elements to Holy Smoke, mainly due to the viewer unsure whose side they were meant to be on. It was true enough that some religious cults were extremely damaging and dehumanising, but Ruth is so rebellious in her unwanted treatment that you may have found yourself wanting her to score a victory against those who were so reluctant to let her make her own mistakes in her own way, and therefore learn from them to live and fight another day. Maybe not even fight: simply achieve some inner contentment be that religious or otherwise, but first she had to get through these three days in a hut out in the middle of the Outback where she is held against her will.

Predictably with these performers, the sexual aspect soon raised its head, with PJ first getting satisfaction from Ruth's starstruck sister-in-law Yvonne (Sophie Lee), then when alone with his subject she practically demands he take her to bed. Turns out this is all part of her using her feminine wiles to prove to him she is more powerful in a battle of wills than he is, though many men in that situation would be presumably not be too bothered about being taken sexual advantage of by Kate Winslet. Then again, the relationship politics were somewhat confused here, and you had to assume that was deliberate on the Campions' part, so that by the conclusion where PJ was driving a car decked out like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer after Ruth understandably woozy since he'd previously stuffed her into the boot of said vehicle, you had to admit many people were more complicated than they would think and forcing their hand on lifestyle choices wasn't always going to be for the best, even if you had the noblest motivation - yet catharsis was always a possibility. Music by Angelo Badalamenti.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2732 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Louise Hackett
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: