Two of the most talented actors in the game right now combine skill and craft to make one of the most dreadfully boring and lame movies of 1999, Holy Smoke.
This movie was a prime candidate to be a great movie, considering its foreign setting, interesting story, and good talent, but instead turned out to be a crappy film trying to capitalize on a sexiness that wasn't there. Kate Winslet shows her breasts yet again, but this time they don't help, and apparently Harvey Keitel wasn't too excited either, because the chemistry between them isn't there at all. Keitel is much older than Winslet and is such a drastically different character from her that the romance that evolves in the movie - the main focus of the film - seems contrived and sloppy.
Holy Smoke is about a cult deprogrammer who isolates a young woman on orders from her parents to help her get out of her "cultish" ways. In the process, though, he realizes that she is manipulating him as well, but doesn't care because he has become obsessively in love with her. Yes, obsessively in love with her. When you see Keitel trying to pull off a dramatic scene while wearing a small little red dress, you just can't take this movie seriously.
The movie is bland, not very powerful not even remotely humorous, and definitely not entertaining. If for anything else I was expecting some good sex scenes, but even those were lacking. I don't really need to see a scene where Keitel does some one-way pleasuring for Winslet.
With the talent involved and the story, I was expecting an interesting if not different kind of movie. Holy Smoke is different; it's different from good movies.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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