It took me that long to finally watch Factory Girl, a story which tells of a wealthy party girl, a poor little rich kid's trials and tribulations, her parties and the friends she keeps, her influences and vices ranging from hard drinking to drug taking. No, it's not about Paris Hilton (you can wager some money that one will be out in future), but probably a precursor to her, a woman called Edie Sedgwick, who lived and died hard and fast. It's not the first time where we have rich young girls choosing a totally different career path for herself, the other in recent memory being Domino Harvey, played by Keira Knightley in Domino.
Sienna Miller has an uncanny facial resemblance to the real Edie Sedgwick, and hence an almost automatic choice in taking on the character. This movie brings us on a journey of her very short life, having passed away before reaching 30 years of age. We see the wrong choices she makes in life, her clueless attitude in coasting along with her drug addiction and decadent celebrity lifestyle, having been brought about Superstardom by the famous Andy Warhol (an almost unrecognizable Guy Pearce) through his casting her in his avant garde movies, and constant media praising.
The factory in Factory Girl refers to Andy Warhol's studio, a warehouse where he lets his creativity run free. Akin to Hugh Hefner's Playboy Mansion if I may say, where you see plenty of leeches doing what they do best, and that's to kiss Warhol's rear. In some ways, Factory Girl examines how Warhol has a huge impact to Sedgwick's life, her being his muse, and frequently seen and photographed together. But the portrayal here makes him look very much a pompous prick who has problems with his own sexuality, though adopting a very protective attitude towards his exploited creations, nary sharing his wealth with his posse, who are probably satisfied with licking up the crumbs that get fallen off the table.
But the more peculiar bit of casting and characterization, is that of Hayden Christensen's "Musician", an amalgamation of boyfriends that Sedgwick has, but implicitly, and quite obviously through the make up and costumes, that Bob Dylan's the one being referred to here. While we see how the clash of egos between Warhol and Musician comes to drastically affect Sedgwick's life, the movie didn't evoke any sense of pity on Sedgwick, and more often than not, makes us feel that she deserves whatever punishment that Life is dishing out to her.
The presentation styles adopted in this movie by George Hickenlooper were pretty mixed, constantly shifting visual techniques from documentary styled interviews, to the incorporation of remade avant garde movies, from colour to black and white. While the focus is supposed to be on Edie Sedgwick given the title, in reality, Andy Warhol as a character gets to share just about as much spotlight, probably because he's the more famous of the two, and Guy Pearce looks like a carbon copy of the real deal, taking a leaf out of Philip Seymour Hoffman's playing of Truman Capote, only with an increased amount of meanness.
When the end credits rolled, interviews with real friends and relatives tell us a little bit more on Edie, but I felt it was too little too late, that the movie itself squandered this opportunity to tell a more compelling narration of her life. Instead, those interested in more would probably hit Wikipedia and do some reading up on Andy Warhol, and Edie Sedgwick.