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Holy Smoke [DVD]

Kate Winslet , Harvey Keitel , Jane Campion    Suitable for 18 years and over   DVD
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
Price: 3.70 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Kate Winslet, Harvey Keitel
  • Directors: Jane Campion
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Channel 4
  • DVD Release Date: 12 May 2008
  • Run Time: 109 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0015N2YOG
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 31,139 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



New Zealand film director Jane Campion is one of a kind. Forget money and fame; she's inspired by the pleasure of sharing her cinematic dreams with friends and film audiences. Her globetrotting heroines (in such films as Angel at My Table, The Piano, The Portrait of a Lady) may be wilful, crazed, self-absorbed, wrong--but who can resist joining these passionate women on their voyages of self-discovery, whether they lead to safe harbour or a dead end?

Holy Smoke opens deliriously in a magical India, saturated with light, colour, sensuality. Celebrated by Neil Diamond's opening anthem, "Holly Holy", Ruth Baron (Kate Winslet, delivering a breathtakingly luminous performance) explores a world that encourages spiritual epiphany--and falls hard for the cartoonish guru who opens her "third eye". Back home in Australia, her hilariously dysfunctional, distinctly down-to-earth family hires hotshot deprogrammer PJ Waters (Harvey Keitel, his dyed hair and cowboy boots telegraphing desperate machismo) to cure Ruth. In an isolated Outback shack, the two of them wrestle each other for control of their souls--and bodies, too. This duel's in deadly earnest: Ruth assaults Waters's petrified masculinity; PJ aims to strip this radiant girl of her unexamined faith.

Their wild ride--funny, brutal, erotic--towards brand-new selfhood is punctuated by indelible images: Ruth dancing in a white sari beside an emu corral; naked in the night, Ruth offering her lush body to her tormentor; lost in the desert, cross-dressed in red gown, PJ "saved" by a golden vision of Ruth as a magnificent Indian goddess. For those who love the way movies can sometimes project truth and beauty, Holy Smoke is a feast for the eyes and mind. --Kathleen Murphy,

On the DVD: Holy Smoke sees good overall quality of the 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer, with the graininess coming from the film rather than the transfer. The soundtrack (which is mostly populated with Neil Diamond tracks) is rich, but what really raises this DVD above mediocrity though (and it had to be something seeing as it is woefully short of extras) is the commentary track. Winslet and cowriter Anna Campion (Jane's sister) are given free reign to talk about their experiences of filming Holy Smoke as well as their thoughts on India, cults and nudity. The result is always interesting, often entertaining and fans of Winslet will fall in love with the graceful star all over again. --Kristen Bowditch

Product Description

After young middle-class Australian Ruth Barron (Kate Winslet) joins a cult in India, her well-intentioned family call upon exit counsellor P.J. Waters (Harvey Keitel) for help in getting her back. Waters is convinced that the job will take no longer than three days of intense counselling in the outback, yet he soon finds himself falling for his client, who uses her sexuality to reverse the counsellor/client relationship and claim some power for herself. Written and directed by Jane Campion ('The Piano', 'Portrait of a Lady').

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Can Kate deprogram the deprogrammer? 15 Mar 2006
By Dennis Littrell TOP 500 REVIEWER
Kate Winslet plays Ruth Barron, a young Australian woman who goes to India and becomes smitten with the touch of a charismatic guru, so much so that she changes her name and forsakes her family to stay in India and attend to and worship the guru. Her parents become alarmed. Her mother goes to India to trick her into coming back to Australia so that she can be deprogrammed by a professional from the United States that they have hired (P.J. Waters as played by Harvey Keitel).
What director Jane Campion does with this once familiar theme is most interesting. She puts the deprogrammer to the test, so to speak, and initiates a struggle of will between the deprogrammer and his young charge. The key scene arrives as Ruth comes naked into P.J.'s arms in order to test his professionalism (and her sexual power). I don't know about you but I think a naked and passionate Kate Winslet would test any man's motivation and make him think twice about what he really wants to do.
The psychological idea behind the story is this question, What is the nature of the guru's hold on his flock? Is it spiritual or is it profane? Do the young women who follow him desire him as an alpha male or is it spiritual deliverance they seek? Naturally Ruth believes the latter and the deprogrammer the former. But what is the deprogammer's motivation? Is this just a job for him or does he feel he is helping to free his clients from some kind of mental slavery? Or is he just another sort of phony guru himself?
Keitel in black hair and black moustache and devil's mini goatee dressed in black with a menacing look and a lot of physical energy (despite being 60-years-old when this film was released) contrasts sharply with Winslet's youthful beauty and beguiling voluptuousness.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Intruiging drama that never quite gets there 12 Dec 2000
Having watched this Jane Campion film, you are left with the uneasy suspicion that, whilst you have enjoyed a visual treat, the film has never quite got to where it wanted to. There are so many different themes picked up by the film that are never quite brought to a satisfactory end. Certainly, more could have been made of the whole cult aspect of the film rather than becoming, as it does, simply a battle of wits between the main protagonists.
Having said this, the film is visually stunning, most especially the fabulously rich shots of India, contrasted perfectly by the bare Australian outback. The acting is generally superb, with a particularly strong performance from Kate Winslet, finding extra-ordinary depths to her character. Harvey Keitel, on the other hand, plays his character as straight as can be, and perhaps this is the problem. His lack of depth hamstrings the film, not allowing for anything other than simple narrative, when it could have gone so much further. Also, more could have been made of the smaller roles, with perhaps some judicious pruning of the slightly more redundant characters.
Slight, but good all the same, I would recommend this film for Winslet, Keitel, and Campion fans only.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By Elspeth
I've seen that there are reviews in both directions but I have enjoyed rewatching this film since 2000 probably annually, and it doesn't fail to make me laugh but also moved and drawn in and remains on my very fussy hard to get on favourite films list.

I think I still consider this one of the funniest films I've seen - not the capers of the ridiculous henchmen, but for the quirks of a family who use festively decorated sheep as a dumb waiter, a father more interested in the camera than of the photo of her daughter in possible danger, vulnerable yet seductive Yvonne, and the fake resident Holy Man. There's also a feeling of realism here - the upset mother who is being as manipulative as she believes her daughter is (Julie Hamilton deserves a special mention); Ruth's anger at her family's betrayal and her resistance of the exiting programme; PJ's jealousy and attraction around Ruth pitted against loyalty to his partner and to professionalism. I do struggle with the brothers/Yani at times and their car roof riding gives little to the story. The book - also penned by the Campion sisters - explains a little more of the processes and relationship (which occasionally I miss)and is more explicit - it's not kissing that Ruth gives PJ a lesson in!

I enjoy this for being a film about ideas and relationship. There are long scenes of dialogue. It looks at religion without sounding expository in the writing sense, though it is expository in the theological sense. I think Ruth's description of finding absolute love though Baba is an appealing experience to aspire to, but she needs this encounter with another older man to help her complete her transformation. She claims her pretensions and hard edges have disappeared through Baba, but her behaviour with PJ shows they have yet to be shed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars erotic and amusing 28 July 2011
By cartoon
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Strangely compelling odd ball film which is definately different . Winslet is brilliant and extremely sexy and Keitel is creepy and definately unforgetable in his red dress ! This isnt necessarily an easy film to watch , who is programming who ? Who is the guru , who is the gullible ? A hidden gem . Definately left me with a lot to think about afterwards .
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Forgettable
I bought this as I generally like Kate's work plus I thought it would be sensual. It is not. It is not believable and it's not even interesting. Read more
Published 27 days ago by Stephen Morse
5.0 out of 5 stars Kate at her best
The film story line is a tad weird i found, but the acting was very good.Cant say I would watch it again but was mildly entertaining.
Published 10 months ago by Mike UK11
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Title From Campion
Kate Winslet's character finds something deeper than her trash family in an Indian Swarmi.

Informed on by her friend, Winslet is coerced home to awaiting therapy;... Read more
Published on 22 Jun 2012 by Dan Smith
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful.
it starts out well - a reasonably interesting premise, albeit not particularly original, and some good shooting of the indian phantasmagoria. Read more
Published on 7 Dec 2011 by R. Altman
2.0 out of 5 stars Less than the sum of its parts
Jane Campion, Harvey Keitel and Kate Winslet - what could possibly go wrong!

Sadly lots, but before that the good stuff; the film (and Kate) looks absolutely ravishing... Read more
Published on 14 Mar 2011 by Lendrick
3.0 out of 5 stars Great start, but soon tails off
I have to say that this is a film of two very different halves. It began with a huge amount of promise, but there is a point about half way through when it starts to quickly... Read more
Published on 3 Jan 2011 by S. Meadows
4.0 out of 5 stars Not holy at all
I wonder if Kate has ever considered keeping her clothes on for a film, (always assuming that it could be tastefully done and in keeping with the integrity and artistic balance of... Read more
Published on 22 Sep 2010 by Ray
4.0 out of 5 stars Smoke they say? Bla Bla, something thicker and denser
The typical neurotic or psychotic schizophrenia of the western world suddenly confronted to the other side of the conscious controlling and tyrannical psyche of the Christian... Read more
Published on 5 Aug 2008 by Jacques COULARDEAU
2.0 out of 5 stars Only for Harvey Keitel hardcore fans....
Keitel and Winslet are splendid actors and in this they are as good as ever - but the screenplay and direction let them down badly. Read more
Published on 21 Mar 2007 by Waterbaby
5.0 out of 5 stars Holy Smoke - Kate's back on form!
I am a HUGE Kate Winslet fan. I fell in love with her in Titanic and when I watched this film, I fell in love with her all over again. Read more
Published on 10 Jun 2004 by "beckycorr"
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