It certainly seems that a lot of work went into Factory Girl. George Hickenlooper’s film comprises a fantastic collage of styles – we have direct to camera narration, documentary, mock 60s film footage and still photos. The New York of the 60s is recreated from the sets to the costumes and on occasion the very film stock. It must have been a joy to make – even if the script is found to be lacking in comparison.
A tragedy of sorts, Factory Girl focuses on Evie Sedgwick, onetime muse, friend and main star of Andy Warhol, and her drug-addled trip into the celebrity world for fifteen minutes. Sienna Miller, often (unfairly) derided for being more celebrity than thespian, throws herself completely into the role. Evie never looks more than a few moments into the future, and there are more than enough people out there willing to take advantage of her looks and audacious attitude. The cinematography itself seems hooked on Evie, and there are countless shots that languish over her body, possibly reflecting the media onslaught of the time, possibly not.
Guy Pearce clearly relishes the role of Andy Warhol, and has hopefully done his time in Hollywood (with mainstream flicks such as The Count of Monte Cristo and The Time Machine) and can now take his time with more challenging roles such as this. His Warhol is flighty, indecisive and lacking in any kind of confidence. He’s altogether a much more fragile thing than David Bowie’s interpretation in 1996’s Basquiat.
There’s a host of supporting actors, from Jimmy Fallon to Mena Suvari, but it’s Hayden Christensen that steals the show as the ‘musician’. Clearly playing Bob Dylan (shhh! Don’t tell anyone… ) his character reeks of ego, and here is another performance that proves Star Wars was no indication whatsoever of his talent. Excepting ‘musician’, these other characters are very much relegated to the sidelines in favour of focussing solely on Evie.
Which is why it’s so strange that the script abandons her near the end. The tone of the film shifts dramatically several times in the final 15 minutes, leaving the viewer with no clear emotional attachment. We take this journey with her only to cast her aside carelessly in the last few moments. Again, maybe the writers’ and director’s intention was to mimic the real life narrative, but the last minute detachment ruins what could be an exceptional film.Rating: