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Holy Smoke! Reviews

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Anthony L

Super Reviewer

February 12, 2013
I don't really get comedy dramas, pick a genres and stick to it. That's not to say you can't have dramatic moments in comedy or funny scenes in dramas but this particular film fumbles between the two in such a clumsy way that neither the drama or the comedy hold any weight. I was thoroughly bored by the middle of the film and there was no great conclusion to make me feel I'd spent my time wisely.
deano
deano

Super Reviewer

January 31, 2007
Unsustained comedy drama with Kate Winslet and Harvey Keitel in the Australian outback.
Leigh R

Super Reviewer

November 7, 2006
Odd, but good.
Mark A

Super Reviewer

June 18, 2010
Holy Smoke is right! Kate Winslet definitely sets the screen on fire, literally and figuratively, in this one as Ruth Barron, a young, idealistic woman, whose parents (Julie Hamilton, Tim Robertson) become concerned when she joins a commune of like-minded seekers in India, under the sway of a charismatic guru. Tricked into returning to her native Australia, she is ambushed by her family and whisked away to a secluded hut for deprogramming by a highly successful American deprogrammer, PJ Waters (Harvey Keitel). What takes place in this desolate location is outside the bounds of any reputable therapy. This is a game (or is it) of cat and mouse and the power shifts back and forth quite precipitously and nearly devastatingly. Excellent performance by the leads, and convincing character development by the supporting cast propel this compelling tale. Surprisingly light moments of wry humor keep this from becoming too unrelentingly dark but without causing it to descend into parody. The control of the plot by Jane Campion feels sure-handed and exhibits a director firmly confident in her craft. The scenery is beautifully desolate and the cinematography is striking. Only a slight letdown at the end detracts from the overall impact.
Mike T

Super Reviewer

August 6, 2007
Although this movie lacks in coherent ideas, it managed to keep me interested the whole way through. It touches on concept after concept, but never settles on a particular intention, or, for that matter, a particular genre. Being a fan of both Kate Winslet and Harvey Keitel, I was interested in seeing this to watch them act together. Their work here is not disappointing. Both actors deliver fearless, intently psychological performances that prevent this film from being a total disaster. The sexual relationship between their characters is unpleasantly explored and often quite perverse, but they are talented enough to make it work better than it probably should.
Christopher B

Super Reviewer

April 8, 2008
Great, underrated comedy from Campion. Keitel is amazing as the cool cult deprogrammer who by the end is the most pathetic fool in the world. A really fun and funny film.
RockabillySaint
RockabillySaint

Super Reviewer

October 8, 2006
Okay, first off, Harvey Keitel is fearless. Seeing him in this movie just makes me respect him even more for what he'll go through for a role. But even with that said the movie was sub par; it had a great idea, and could have done a lot with it, but unfortunately it came up rather short and wasn't that inspiring or philosophical (which I thought it was going to be). The first half was fairly decent, but the second half just got weird and was slightly uncomfortable to watch. It also ended rather ubruptly and with hardly anything resolved. Winslet was great, Keitel was. . . interesting, but it's not really a movie I'd want to watch more than once or twice.
May 4, 2008
While it has an interesting premise, I feel the film suffers greatly from an identity crisis. Its offbeat for the wrong reasons and tends to shift moods without any proper reason or warning, leaving the viewer a little baffled by what this film is exactly trying to be. Winslet and Keitel do well for themselves, but it bites off more than it can really chew as it develops itself into what is ultimately a very confused drama about mental empowerment.
rodjeckrich
January 5, 2013
This was on IFC once and I caught some of it. Why? I'm not sure but maybe it has something to do with Katie Winslet. What I wound up saying as I wasted about 45 minutes of my life on this before turning it off was "Holy crap does this suck!"
tulsatech
May 8, 2008
A miserable piece of shit. Not even Kate Winslet and Harvey Keitel could make it worth watching. The only reason it got one star is because Kate Winslet had a few nude scenes.
auntikrist
February 16, 2008
Very strange film about a "cult de-programmer" who finds himself in over his head with an extremely stubborn woman.
August 5, 2007
Unlike any other romance. Winslet pisses on herself and Keitel's character is very good. Campion cannot fail.
phaedrus99
May 9, 2007
brilliant performances by harvey keitel and kate winslet. winslet fans might have missed this one.
December 11, 2006
Like Jude, this movie has naked Kate Winslet. Unlike Jude, this one has an entertaining storyline, great acting, and a beautiful directorial style.
David B.
July 14, 2013
I just loved it when I saw it o a theatre, back in the day.
March 21, 2013
The worried family of an Australian girl who experiences a spiritual awakening in India as part of a strange religious cult, hires a macho exit counsellor to reprogram her belief. In Holy Smoke, a complex concept is dealt too lightly and inconsistently. The screenplay is quite poor and makes even the inspired performances seem silly.
January 20, 2013
Not bad till the second half.... then the wheels fall off the bus ! Harvey Keitel in a dress and sobbing like a girl was just too much. Could have been a great vehicle for both of these great actors, but alas...... it stunk up the joint.
July 8, 2012
I liked how the story was very different and A bit messy just like real life. All the characters are flawed and trying to muddle through. I would recommend it.
April 26, 2012
really wanted to love this film but couldn't despite being a guru suvivor myself. Winslet radiant as always, Keitel deliberately and humiliatingly silly as the sheep with snacks.
March 20, 2012
Mostly irritating...
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