Based on the attempted murder of New York artist Andy Warhol. Valerie Solanas (Lili Taylor) moves to Sixties New York, where she is befriended by the transvestite Candy Darling (Stephen Dorff) and lesbian Stevie. Working as a prostitute, Valerie tries to get herself published. She writes her own manifesto, SCUM (Society for Cutting Up Men), and a play entitled 'Up Your Ass'. When she and her friends become part of Warhol's (Jared Harris) Factory entourage, Valerie has hopes that Warhol will produce her work, but instead finds herself ridiculed by and finally 'excommunicated' from his circle. As she slips into paranoia, Valerie makes an attempt on Warhol's life.
Mary Harron's feature--which picked up a Special Jury Award at the 1996 Sundance Film Festival for lead actress and independent film mainstay Lili Taylor--is a highly suspect mishmash of golly-gee counterculture reconstruction and inflammatory agitprop. Harron re-creates the ultimately violent relationship of motor-mouth street freak writer-prostitute-lesbian-gun-wielding assailant Valerie Solanas (Taylor) and pop artist Andy Warhol (Jared Harris) in the late 1960s, which ended in Solanas's assault on Warhol for his charmingly noncommittal responses to her search for a patron. It's a great idea for a film, but I Shot Andy Warhol
is truly at odds with itself. Harron's modular construction of the story--part naive re-enactment of the instant-celebrity life at Warhol's studio, part celebration of Solanas's subversive ramblings, part investigation into the roots of her hyper-victimisation at, apparently, the hands of all men--is ultimately a shell game that allows the writer-director to avoid taking a clear stand on Solanas's bizarro politics. The cast is the only draw here: besides indie-film queen Taylor, Jared Harris makes for a convincingly cagey Warhol. --Tom Keogh
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.