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DVD Review: Factory Girl

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Edie Sedgwick, who emulated the moniker “poor little rich girl,” was an American blueblood with loads of money and a bright future when she met artist Andy Warhol and became his “muse,” quickly catapulting her to “It Girl” status.

Factory Girl does a great job of capturing the crazy feeling of the mid-'60s, as it focuses narrowly on 1965-1966, a time when Edie’s notoriety rose and fell as fast as a roller coaster.

I knew little about Sedgwick, who is portrayed by Sienna Miller in Factory Girl, before watching the film, and, unfortunately, I still feel that I know little about her. The film seems to be more of an homage to Andy Warhol (portrayed by Guy Pearce), the pop artist who turned the art world on its head in the '60s in New York City, than a biopic of Sedgwick.

Factory Girl ultimately suggests that Warhol is to blame for the downfall, and ultimate demise, of Sedgwick, a hotly debated topic. Also up for debate is the historical accuracy surrounding the not-so-subtle role of Quinn (played by Hayden Christensen) as a Bob Dylan-esque musician and Edie's lover (a fact that Dylan vehemently denies).

This film hinges on flashbacks and sequences that seem to not quite fit together, giving the whole a choppy and disjointed feel. It seems the director worried about that as well, since there are “real” interviews rolling over the credits, which is a pet peeve of mine as they are reiterating what has just been on the screen for over an hour and a half.

Act, don’t tell, I say. And if you doubt the clarity of your work, maybe better editing is in order.

I just wish the film had given less face time to Warhol and more to Sedgwick, especially her troubled childhood (which was only briefly touched upon) and her years after The Factory. Maybe a better name for the film would have been At The Factory, or something else that doesn’t imply that Sedgwick is the hub of the story.

The supporting cast includes Jack Huston, Jimmy Fallon, Shawn Hatosy, Mena Suvari, James Naughton, Beth Grant, Edward Hermann, and Ileana Douglas. I did like to see Fallon in a serious role, and Suvari and Hatosy are always great to watch.

The film is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. I watched the "unrated" version, and having never viewed the rated version, I’m guessing the un-rating has to do with the realistic sex scenes in the film. The sound is Dolby Digital 5.1, with optional English and Spanish subtitles.

There are lots of extras, including director George Hickenlooper’s commentary; one deleted scene, presented in full screen with optional Hickenlooper commentary; "The Real Edie," a 28-minute full screen featurette; 20 minutes of "Guy Pearce's Video Diary," which was akin to watching a 14-year-old with his first video camera; Sienna Miller's audition, running almost eight minutes; 10 minutes of the full screen featurette "Making Factory Girl"; and the film's theatrical trailer.

I’m sure I’m not the only person who knew little about Sedgwick and hoped Factory Girl would delve more into her life. I can only guess Warhol fans will get more out of the film.

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