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I Shot Andy Warhol Review

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Based on the true story of Valerie Solanas who was a 60s radical preaching hatred toward men in her "Scum" manifesto. She wrote a screenplay for a film that she wanted Andy Warhol to produce, but he continued to ignore her. So she shot him. This is Valerie's story.

★★★★

Although her film bears his name and hangs upon his presence, this true life debut by Mary Harron is not about the peroxide blond late 60s pop guru but a woman, Valerie Solanas, who crossed his path and ultimately came within inches of assassinating him.

Other than being a determined but lousy shot, Solanas’ (Taylor) main claim to fame was that she was the founder and sole member of SCUM — the Society for Cutting Up Men — and the author of The SCUM Manifesto. Cheaply printed copies of this radical feminist document she used to hawk on the New York streets (a dollar to men, 50 cents or less to women) in between attaching herself to Warhol’s (Harris) art studio/workshop The Factory and trying to secure a proper publishing deal for her work.

Initially, she is warmly received by Warhol and appears in one of his films — I, A Man — but gradually her persistence and general demeanour leaves everyone at The Factory wishing her gone. Taylor portrays this edgier side to Solanas’ character superbly, veering between apparent insanity and intellectual genius. “I’m not a lunatic, I’m a revolutionary” she insists, but the audience is left to wonder, albeit sympathetically.

With Taylor in such stunning form, Harron is free to concentrate on telling the story and to conjure the atmosphere of the period. Both she achieves quite magnificently. The silver-walled and screen print-festooned Factory looks brilliant, the crash pads sordid and the costumes just perfect. Add to this a sassy soundtrack and a strong supporting cast (headed by Dorff as the transsexual Candy Darling) portraying the Factory “superstars” and I Shot Andy Warhol adds up to something far more a fascinating time capsule than mere docudrama.

Not perfect, but pretty darn good.