Holy Smoke, the latest Jane Campion film (The Piano) is a film that challenges you, sexually and mentally, to go and take a piss every 5 minutes, and painfully masturbate every 15. I saw this film on cable, and I really ended with a lump on my throat, why? Because I just couldn't understand where the fuck the film wanted me to be going. It's really a weird and quirky film and for most of the time I felt at certain times lost, because the subject it tries to deal with changes when you least expect it. Fuck man, it was dire. No, it was dull.Australians Ruth Barron (Kate Winslet), whose a beautiful young girl and her friend Prue (Samantha Murray) go on a visit to India, supposedly searching the exotic of it, and there they go into a cult house where this religious guru is talking to a huge mass, a sort of like those assholes that keep talking about the lord on cable. But then when the guru is touching people "to accept their faith, and open their third eye" she touches Ruth too, and as we see, her eyes are open. Prue witnesses all and gets scared. So she goes back to Australia to tell Ruth's mother (Julie Hamilton), so Mum, and the family plot to bring Ruth back from India. So Mum goes to India to bring Ruth back, and despite some tense moments that she suffers, she eventually does, under the lie that his father is sick. Ruth comes back only to find out about their lie, and that the family has hired an American "cult specialist" PJ Waters (Harvey Keitel), to bring her back to her senses. Ruth at first fights but in the end she gives in and she and PJ are driven out to a solitary cabin in the desert. And from then, that's when all hell breaks loose, because PJ doesn't realize that Ruth is going to turn the tables on him and seduce him with her sexuality all the way around to start a battle of sexes with drastic consequences.
"Sex And Religious Skeptics, A Weird Combination That Smokes Off"
One of the things the film tackles is religious hysteria, and we know that religious fanatics are pretty much a bunch of people that are so fucked in the head they'll do whatever their leader tells them to do. This is explored at first in the movie and it was at first interesting, but thanks to the flaw that I'll explain later on, it fails to develop from itís original point even more.
Now supposedly its PJís 190th case of cult de-programming, now assuming that he has also treated women, in fact, mostly women since women are the type that get convinced even faster than men, he knows what to expect. But then the flawed twist comes out, Ruth seduces PJ later on and he seems to not control his hormones. Sure we at first find out that he's also a womanizer, probably a clue from the movie for what's to come later. Sure, you may say, we are humans, who doesn't want to fuck a pretty girl? Sure, but these guys are experienced, they know their ways around it and around religion they are people that have absolute control of themselves. So what the fuck happened here? Ruth seduces him and PJ falls into her trap. After that PJ can't seem to control his sexual thoughts for her that soon enough he gets obsessed enough to fuck Ruth twice later on. And this is his 190th case? It makes you wonder how the other 189 were and how did he handled them.
So what do we have? A horny fucked up character, which can't control his thoughts on the victim he's working on, who in the end falls for the girl, and the relationship never even works, and the sex scenes are too short. So instead of working PJ out and see the aftereffects of being possessed and a friendly relationship to develop with PJ and Ruth, we get a totally fucked up love story that falls apart all thanks to PJ's "weakness," and the totally unnecessary love story and the all-too predictable battle of sexes which the female side tends to win, thanks to this flaw. Unfortunately that part ruins somehow the film, since it switches gears unexpectedly so the subjects the film was talking about earlier are thrown in the can all of a sudden, although the ending makes it up a little, but not enough to save this train wreck.
The performances were okay; of course I know that Kate Winslet likes to take her clothes off on screen but who cares. Harvey Keitel tries to do his best with a totally screwed up character, and the rest of the cast performed well. Notice the Pam Grier cameo, despite that she's an important character, its basically a cameo.In the end, I can't recommend this film, if you want to see it, do so at your own risk, and see what you can find. I found nothing new here, despite some interesting subjects of religion, and some T&A shots, it all adds up to nothing. Sure, some good masturbating moments, but that doesn't make up for all your time lost here. (1.5-5)
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originally posted: 04/17/01 22:35:37