Last year in Hideous Kinky, Kate Winslet played a sensual, spiritually wayward young woman unmoored in Morocco. Jane Campion's Holy Smoke! opens with a delirious montage following Winslet playing nearly the same character in India. She's deep under a guru's sway when her concerned Australian family brings her back Down Under. Here they hire P.J. Waters (Harvey Keitel), a Johnny Cash-style American cowboy who doubles as a cult deprogrammer. In a remote cabin, a battle of the sexes begins, and the tough guy's on the losing side.
Lighter in tone than Campion's The Piano, Holy Smoke! shares the visual beauty. The psycho-sexual contest between Ruth and P.J. is gaseous, expansive, and diffuse.