Holy Smoke
(Click here for Internet Movie Database entry)

Holy Smoke is the latest film by Jane Campion, best known for The Piano.  She seems to have a thing for Harvey Keitel who spent significant screen time in The Piano completely naked with Holly Hunter.  In this new movie, Keitel appears again and again spends a lot of screen time naked but thankfully with no full frontals this time.  His naked partner this time is Kate Winslet looking much more voluptuous than she did in Titanic.  I'm wasting time discussing the nude scenes because I don't know quite what to say about this movie.  Jane Campion is a great director but apparently she couldn't bring herself to leave anything on the editting room floor. Although the running time is actually slightly less than two hours, it seems much longer. Part of this may be intentional. The plot revolves around a young Australian woman (Winslet) who joins a cult while on holiday in India. Her family lures her home to Australia and hires a deprogrammer (Keitel) to snap her out of it.  She and Keitel spend several days together in a hut in the outback as he tries to un-brainwash her.  We feel trapped there too as Winslet ends up deprogramming Keitel as they run around in various stages of undress. Keitel spends the whole last half hour of the movie wearing a red dress.  Even though Campion is from New Zealand, this movie is set in Australia and has the typical feel of an Aussie movie.  The characters are all slightly bizarre and although this is a drama, many of the scenes are slapstick.  Winslet is very good in this part although she has a problem with her Australian accent which mysteriously comes and goes throughout the movie.  Keitel, the ultimate Indie star,  is his usual persona. He is always playing ``The Cleaner." If you like him, then you'll like this performance.  The Australian supporting cast are all wacky but good. Paul Goddard, seen most recently as Agent Brown in The Matrix, plays Winslet's gay brother.   The cinematography is beautiful but the action in this film goes round and round without much resolution.  There is no chemistry between Keitel and Winslet so their attraction must be ascribable to Stockholm Syndrome.  And the ending is a total cop out.   There's a lot to recommend this film but there was too much smoke and not enough fire.