Holy Smoke

Film

Time Out says

Far from her suburban Sydney home, backpacker Ruth Barron (Winslet) is so touched by an Indian guru that even mum turning up with tales of dad's imminent demise can't lure her back. Ironically, mum's own asthmatic reaction to Delhi leads to Ruth escorting her to Oz, where awaits wizard 'cult exiter' PJ Waters (Keitel), hired by the family to rid Ruth of her plans to become one of her mentor's wives. His three-step process takes place in a cabin in the desert, a suitably scorched, remote arena for a blazing battle of wills that takes them beyond conventional power struggles into a heady realm of love, hate, doubt and desire. With its switches in tone, from searing psycho-drama to broad, exuberant comedy, its sometimes purposeful, sometimes meandering narrative and its bright hues, the film initially seems an efficient if uneven entertainment. As it progresses, however, with Ruth and PJ moving into ever murkier territory, it becomes easier to discern a thematic thread: how we're all conditioned, and how we must interrogate traditional assumptions to discover our real selves. It's brave, adventurous, refreshingly frank - qualities also marking the performances, particularly those of the leads.

Details

Release details

Duration:
115 mins

Cast and crew

Director:
Jane Campion
Screenwriter:
Anna Campion, Jane Campion
Cast:
Kate Winslet
Harvey Keitel
Pam Grier
Julie Hamilton
Tim Robertson
Sophie Lee
Daniel Wylie
Paul Goddard
George Mangos
Kerry Walkers