I Shot Andy Warhol [1996]

Genre: Biography, Drama
Mary Harron's feature--which picked up a Special Jury Award at the 1996 Sundance Film Festival for lead actress and independent film mainstay Lili Taylor--is a highly suspect mishmash of golly-gee counterculture reconstruction and inflammatory agitprop. Harron re-creates the ultimately violent relationship of motor-mouth street freak writer-prostitute-lesbian-gun-wielding assailant Valerie Solanas (Taylor) and pop artist Andy Warhol (Jared Harris) in the late 1960s, which ended in Solanas's assault on Warhol for his charmingly noncommittal responses to her search for a patron. It's a great idea for a film, but I Shot Andy Warhol is truly at odds with itself. Harron's modular construction of the story--part naive reenactment of the instant-celebrity life at Warhol's studio, part celebration of Solanas's subversive ramblings, part investigation into the roots of her hyper-victimization at, apparently, the hands of all men--is ultimately a shell game that allows the writer-director to avoid taking a clear stand on Solanas's bizarro politics. The cast is the only draw here: besides indie-film queen Taylor, Jared Harris makes for a convincingly cagey Warhol. --Tom Keogh

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