Picks and Pans Review: High Art
Former Brat Pack ingenue Sheedy gives a very taut, very grown-up performance as a New York photographer who has retreated from the pressures of success and into a heroin habit she shares with her lover, a has-been German actress. Famous for her documentary photographs of drugged-out artists and hangers-on, Sheedy is lured out of semiofficial retirement by an ambitious young photo magazine staffer (Mitchell), whose fascination turns out not to be purely aesthetic.
First-time writer-director Lisa Cholodenko has an astute appreciation for the nuances of motive (is Mitchell using Sheedy, or vice versa?) and character. Mitchell's little-girl allure, emergent lesbianism and conniving creepiness seem equally authentic parts of a mixed-up young woman.
But Art, like its heroin-shooting denizens, sinks into dull lethargy. The droning background music by the band Shudder to Think sure doesn't help. It's like watching fruit rot on a sill while listening to the buzz of flies. (R)
Bottom Line: If only the film's energy level got as high as its characters