Kristen Baldwin
August 06, 1999 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Holy Smoke

Current Status
In Season
Peter Murphy

We gave it a B

A talky tale of a young woman and the man hired to deprogram her from an Indian cult, Holy Smoke is a collaborative effort from the filmmaker sisters behind such indie works as The Piano (Jane) and Loaded (Anna). In alternating chapters, Ruth (who will be played by Kate Winslet in the upcoming Miramax movie version, natch) and New York-based cult specialist P.J. (played by Harvey Keitel, natch again) detail the internal desires that lead first to passion and then to a violent denouement. The Campions’ insight into the young, independent female mind gives vitality and weight to Ruth’s voice, but P.J.’s journey from frustration to psychosis is sudden and jarring. Perhaps it will seem more natural on the big screen. B

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