Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Radha Mitchell, Gabriel Mann, Charis Michelsen, David Thornton, Anh Duong, Ally Sheedy, Patricia Clarkson, Helen Mendes, Bill Sage, Tammy Grimes, Cindra Feuer, Anthony Ruivivar, Elaine Tse, Rudolf Martin
Written by: Lisa Cholodenko
Directed by: Lisa Cholodenko
MPAA Rating: R for strong sexuality, pervasive drug use and language
Running Time: 103
Date: 01/21/1998
IMDB

High Art (1998)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Photorealistic

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Ally Sheedy plays Lucy Berliner, a photographer and heroin junkie who could be the grown up version of the outcast she played in The Breakfast Club (1985). Radha Mitchell is Syd, an ambitious assistant editor at a photography magazine who becomes enamored of both Lucy's photographs and of Lucy. Syd begins to alienate her boyfriend in favor of Lucy and her world, and the women become lovers. This is the feature writing and directing debut of Lisa Cholodenko. It's an assured (if slightly pretentious) work, with some distinctly European qualities. Cholodenko seems to know what to do with her camera and her actors. She takes her time, and the movie is not rushed. However, the script is slightly amateurish, a betrayal of a first film. The ensemble scenes are well handled, but when we're focused on one or two characters, we're too aware of a movie happening; it jars us back to reality.

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