Holy Smoke

"Essential"

Holy Smoke Review


It's so comforting to see a talented actor recover from the precarious heights of mass-market success. After Titanic, I was perfectly prepared to condemn Kate Winslet to the same pit of has-been obscurity Leonardo DiCaprio belongs in. Fortunately, Winslet didn't sink with the ship.

Holy Smoke is the entrancing story of two zealots on a collision course with fate. Ruth, played by Winslet, is a young Australian who finds what she believes to be the path to enlightenment through the influence of a Guru while on holiday in India. When Mum (Julie Hamilton) gets word, she cooks up a plot to lure Ruth home and hires top cult deprogrammer PJ Waters (Harvey Keitel) to bring her daughter to reason.

Once trapped by her family, Ruth agrees to spend three days with Waters, beginning a game of cat-and-mouse that blurs all boundaries between therapist and patient. The balance of power turns when PJ falls under Ruth's seduction, leading them both on a descent into madness that is disturbing, enchanting, and sickly hilarious.

Winslet is positively enthralling in her role, presenting an inspired encore to her 1999 performance in Gillies MacKinnon's Hideous Kinky. Keitel is intense and commanding, tapping into the same hardcore energies we saw in Abel Ferrara's 1992 shocker, Bad Lieutenant. For what it's worth, I'm predicting Oscar nominations. [Sorry, Robert - Ed.]

Once in a while, first-rate acting meets up with powerful directorial and cinemagraphic vision to make a truly great film and this time it's the audience who got lucky. Cinematographer Dion Beebe and director Jane Campion (The Piano) deserve strong kudos for this one. Also worth mentioning is the comic and bizarre contribution of the supporting cast, including Pam Grier (Jackie Brown). Sophie Lee (Muriel's Wedding) is a complete riot as Ruth's incompetent sister. I suspect much of Grier's work on this film is cluttering the cutting room floor, and her character is just never realized. Outside of this one shortcoming, Holy Smoke is a masterpiece. See this movie.

Hot off the press!



Holy Smoke

Facts and Figures

Run time: 115 mins

In Theaters: Tuesday 22nd February 2000

Distributed by: Miramax Films

Production compaines: India Take One Productions, Miramax Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 45%
Fresh: 37 Rotten: 45

IMDB: 5.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Ruth Barron, as PJ Waters, as Mum, as Yvonne, as Robbie, as Tim, as Dad, as Yanni, as Puss, Leslie Dayman as Bill-Bill, as Prue, as Stan, as Fabio, as Carol

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Advertisement
Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.