Projections - Movie Reviews

Holy Smoke Holy Smoke

In Hideous Kinky, Kate Winslet underwent a spiritual renaissance in traversing from Britain to Africa.  Now, in the complex film Holy Smoke, she treks from Australia to India.  Director Jane Campion heedlessly explores the life of a young Australian lass with an uncompromising allure.

Campion's new film also reunites her with that raw, revealing actor from The Piano, Harvey Keitel.  His characterization hinges on the dynamic gender relationship set forth by Campion. The willing Keitel powerfully unveils a decline from career professional as an American "exit counselor" to the highly irrational, via Winslet's sexual power plays.

After a lavish cinematic shot of India, Ruth is sure that something life changing has come of her vacation.  She is easily lured into a cult as a devotee of an Indian guru, Baba.  Ruth's family in Sydney takes desperate measures to get their daughter back on home soil.

This dark dramedy is laced with an offbeat wit that evenly balances Ruth's quest in spirituality with her quirky suburban family.  There are many turns in the flavor of this edgy film as Ruth returns to the outback with her asthmatic mother to help the family with her father, who may have suffered from a stroke.

There's careful attention given to family and eastern religion, especially in dealing with Ruth's puzzled, but well intentioned Mum. This atypical journey may be kinky for some, but its understated approach to stinging humor and ambiguity of one's facade, add up to a strange but ingratiating Holy Smoke!  That really isn't hideous.

Holy Smoke

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