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USA 1996
Directed by
Mary Harron
100 minutes
Rated MA

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars

I Shot Andy Warhol

Films about well-known pop cultural identities often suffer from a self-conscious awkwardness and writer/director Mary Harron’s is no exception although it is far from being the from the worst offender.

I Shot Andy Warhol is oscillates between the appealing and the off-putting, alternately piquing your interest, then losing it, then catching it again with just enough overall appeal to carry you through to the end, not exactly satisfied but sort of entertained.Most of the entertainment comes from LIli Taylor’s interpretation of Valerie Solanas, the garbage-mouth dyke author of the S.C.U.M Manifesto who became famous for doing what the film’s title says,

Originally conceived as a documentary I Shot Andy Warhol is a reasonably informative account of Solanas's life particularly the years 1966 to 1968 in New York City when she drifted into the circle of flotsam and jetsam that was Warhol’s Factory.  Sexually abused by her father as a child, putting herself through college by her earnings from prostitution, Valerie’s obsession with the dick-driven inferiority of men to women led to her forming the Society for Cutting Up Men (of which she was the only member), and eventually, the fixation that Warhol exemplified male abuse of women.

Thanks to Taylor's performance, the film is at its best as a portrait of Solanas. When it comes to portraying Warhol’s Factory scene it is less effective, getting the look right but doing little other than ticking off well-known identities of the time such as Paul Morrissey, Edie Sedgwick (interested parties should see Ciao Manhattan for a more in-depth account of the Factory scene) and The Velvet Underground,  with the exception of Warhol himself, especially well-portrayed by Jared Harris (the son of Richard Harris). I Shot Andy Warhol will be of principal interest to fans of the period.




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