Holy Smoke (1999)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Satire, Psychological Drama, Religious Drama  |   Release Date - Dec 3, 1999 (USA)  |   Run Time - 114 min.  |   Countries - Australia , United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Nobody makes a fascinating mess quite the way Jane Campion does, and she pulls that off once again in this sometimes difficult, but always arresting examination of the uneasy war of the sexes. The film sometimes stretches credibility to a breaking point when laying bare (often literally) its potent themes of sexuality and deprogramming (not to mention about two endings too many to resolve them), but as always, Campion is a gifted storyteller and an even more astute, visionary director, getting gutsy, layered performances from the two leads, especially Kate Winslet, whose tour-de-force portrayal of womanhood is rife with piquant observation and a healthy sexual prowess. Dion Beebe's glorious widescreen photography gives the story an otherworldly loveliness and gravity, and Campion's use of music remains as brilliant as ever. The film failed to live up to the reputation of Campion's breakout 1993 hit The Piano, despite great notices for herself and star Winslet, who was an Oscar hopeful before the film's chilly reception.