"Factory Girl" went through a series of troubles - reshoots, a lawsuit from Bob Dylan and a production that had to move from New Orleans after the devastation of Katrina - before generating more controversy over the sex scene in the movie. The film looks into the life of Edie Sedgewick (Sienna Miller, who was first cast, then dropped, then re-cast), who dropped out and headed to New York, winding up as part of Andy Warhol (Guy Pierce)'s group and in some of Warhol's films. The story's like many that have been heard before many times: Sedgewick gets caught up in the glitz and glam (in this case, of Warhol's Factory) and then spirals out of control due to drugs and other problems.
The problem with the movie is that it just doesn't have the momentum it needs for us to get caught up in this world: Miller tries her hardest to make all of this interesting, but the picture just doesn't have much we've not already seen in other, similar biopics. Pearce's performance as Warhol doesn't fare much better, as while he gets the mannerisms, the character is so withdrawn, chilly and underdeveloped that he largely seems to fade into the background.
This is a fairly major problem for the film because it needs to convince us that Edie was fascinated by Warhol's world and got sucked up in it. Warhol's Factory - at least in this film - seems to consist of the pale Andy muttering to himself, some people standing around and the occasional film shoot. Also not helping matters is the fact that the film's period detail seems questionable.
While Pearce is okay at best as Warhol, Hayden Christensen is just bizarre attempting to portray Bob Dylan, who Edie falls for. Not looking right for the role, the former Darth Vader strains with all of the force of the dark side to imitate Dylan, and Christensen doesn't manage it. Making matters worse is that Dylan (the actual Bob Dylan) sued the film and the result is a character that strongly appears to be portraying Bob Dylan that has been renamed (likely at the last minute) Billy Quinn. While one can wonder about who's idea it was to cast Christensen as Dyl..er, Quinn, there's the equally questionable casting of Jimmy Fallon (looking lost) and, in a bit part, Mary Kate Olsen.
Miller isn't up to carrying the movie, but she certainly gives it her all in the role. To her credit, I'm not sure who could have truly carried the film, as the material just isn't particularly interesting and largely one-dimensional. The film doesn't come to much of an ending, intead leaving the details of the remainder of Edie's life for subtitles to explain before the credits roll.
Miller's effort is about as strong of a performance as she's given, but "Factory Girl" is a fractured look at a few points in Sedgewick's life and never really goes beneath the surface of the character or convincingly portrays what made Warhol's scene so appealing.
VIDEO: "Factory Girl" is presented by Weinstein Entertainment/Genius Home Entertainment in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The presentation looked moderately good overall, with fine sharpness and detail. Some minor edge enhancement is occasionally seen, as is some slight artifacting and - during the scenes that appear shot in 16mm - understandable grain. Colors look a tad subdued. Overall, this is a fine transfer, but nothing stands out about it.
SOUND: The film's Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation put the surrounds to use at times for music and ambience, but this was otherwise a front-heavy, dialogue-driven presentation. Audio quality was fine, with crisp dialogue and music.
EXTRAS: Commentary by director Hickenlooper, deleted scene, "The Real Edie" featurette, "Making of", trailer, Miller's audition tape and Guy Pearce's video diary.
Final Thoughts: Miller's effort is about as strong of a performance as she's given, but "Factory Girl" is a fractured look at a few points in Sedgewick's life and never really goes beneath the surface of the character or convincingly portrays what made Warhol's scene so appealing. A light rental recommendation for those interested in the subject.
The Film C