Sunday, 11 January 2015

Review: Maps To The Stars

I can't believe I haven't seen…

Maps To The Stars Poster

Maps To The Stars (2014)
Cert: 18 / 109 mins / Dir. David Cronenberg / Trailer
WoB Rating: 6/7

Sex, bullying, guilt, murder, incest and repetition; Hollywood™! Nothing is off the cards in David Cronenberg's tale of tinseltown corrosion that makes Birdman look like a comedic romp by comparison. Glibness aside, Maps To The Stars is pretty much the perfect companion-piece to the Iñárritu flick about mental collapse in a semi-fictionalised film industry, but walks in much darker shoes.

Mia Wasikowska, Olivia Williams, John Cusack, Robert Pattinson and the young Evan Bird are all outstanding under Cronenberg's taut direction, but it's Julianne Moore who really shines here (ironically, given the nature of her role as a psychologically wrecked actress approaching the end of her Hollywood 'shelf-life'). Julianne gives the grief, desperation and vulnerability that do full justice to Bruce Wagner's screenplay. I only wish the story-strand with Moore and Sarah Gadon, playing the young-incarnation of her mother, had been given more screen time. That said, there's a hell of a lot to get through in this tangled web, and it's not easy-going at the best of times.

In other hands, the film could well have turned into a self-fuelling darkly comic parody, but there's little to smile at here, even if there's much to admire. Maps To The Stars won't be for everybody, but that's always been Cronenberg's style. Inaccessible yet intriguing, you'll need a fascination with the twisted machine that is Hollywood to see it through to the end, but it's one hell of a ride.

Not a film you'll want to watch with your parents in the room.

Have you really never seen this before?
I haven't. It was a bit too genre to come to my local, and only on for one week in London so I didn't get the chance.

So are you glad you've finally have?
I am. A little drained, but glad.

And would you recommend it, now?
I'd recommend it to people who like tales of inwardly-spiralling self-destruction, yes.

Oh, and is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
There isn't. It's not really that kind of film, to be fair.

…but what's the Star Wars connection?
The film briefly features Princess Leia herself, Carrie Fisher.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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