Picks and Pans Review: I Shot Andy Warhol
Taylor plays Valerie Solanas, mentally disturbed prostitute, playwright, lesbian feminist polemicist, and founder and sole member of the Society for Cutting Up Men, or SCUM. Solanas was briefly tolerated as an eccentric hanger-on at Andy Warhol's studio (known as the Factory) in the mid-'60s, but the artist and his entourage soon tired of her rantings and shut her out. In 1968, Solanas shot and nearly killed Warhol (Harris) in a fit of paranoid anger. She died in 1989.
Taylor, an actress whose solemn, unwavering intensity borders on religious devotion, is excellent. She quietly, but very clearly, delineates the stages of Solanas's deterioration from crazy to crazier to homicidal. Harris, who in his wig looks like a blond Garrison Keillor, also is very good: listless and funny, with a thin edge of malice. But the movie isn't much more than an acting exercise for these two talented performers. It's all about excess but has none itself. Director Mary Harron, who has shot the movie with flat efficiency, doesn't seem to have much to say about Solanas's madness or feminism or the '60s or Warhol's art—which is like making a movie about John Wilkes Booth without mentioning the Civil War. (R)
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