Viewing George Hickenlooper's Factory Girl a second time on the DVD which will be released Tuesday, my opinion has gone up a few notches. It's not so much because the restored material -- a few snippets -- does a great deal to let the movie breathe. Instead, I found myself reading between the lines of the insightful director's commentary, in which Hickenlooper takes pains to point out to the viewer exactly which parts of the movie were the results of his original cut, and which parts were introduced at the whim of Harvey Weinstein. Invariably, it's the Weinstein-mandated changes that slow the movie down and make it sometimes seem commonplace and uninspired. (Hickenlooper is carefully to say how great the Weinstein-changes were, even as he's dutifully pointing them out.) One big problem is the 'Warhol montage' near the beginning that takes great pains to point out to us that there was a guy named Andy Warhol who was a great pop artist of the late 20th century -- as if anyone in the film's audience wouldn't know that.
Another unwelcome element is the Gia-like 'Edie in a mental hospital' bookends -- a drastic stylistic departure from the fast-paced, Oliver Stone-like cutting rhythm of the rest of the film. A lot of exposition is proffered during these moments, but to what end? Do we really need to know more about Edie's homelife than we've already learned during the A-story? I don't think so. There are a few other Weinstein-elements scattered throughout, and having seen the film twice now, I think we can conclude two things: Hickenlooper is a genuine talent who made a good film under unbearable pressures and he would have made a substantially better one if not for the heavy-handed studio honcho standing on his head. His visual chops are, while a little too close to his admitted mentor, Oliver Stone, still very sharp. He has a masterful knowledge of camera minutia and spends much time during his commentary talking about how he chose certain camera grains and lenses in order to complement the tone of a particular scene.