Maps to the Stars Review
An attempt at a scathing satirical portrait of Hollywood, Cronenberg’s latest fails to shock or awe, and instead rides a little too closely towards precocious bitterness.Lauded as one of the most daring filmmakers in the Western world, I’ve been less than impressed by David Cronenberg’s recent output. Out of a partnership with production company Prospero Pictures, Cronenberg has delivered three middle-ground works which barely hint at the volatile genius that he has captured in the past, His all-star A Dangerous Method failed to feel very dangerous at all, and Cosmopolis saw him take his first shot at the 1%ers, and hit, but fail to deliver a fatal blow.Here he returns to finish the job with an anti-Hollywood film of epic proportions. However it not only tells a story so whimsical that it feels like it has no grounding in reality, but also, even if you can understand the lesson that he’s trying to teach you, fails to tell you anything you didn’t already know.
Julianne Moore bravely tries to remain true to her art as an ageing actress desperate for one last shot at glory - desperate to play the same role her late, and revered, mother played in a remake of one of her films - whilst Cusack struggles to avoid his trademark eccentricities (see the immolation scene). Mia Wasikowska drifts around with seemingly much beneath the surface but nothing revealed, whilst Robert Pattinson continues a run of escape-from-the-shadow-of-Twilight features, although he was far better utilised in The Rover. The biggest waste, though, is the talent of Cronenberg, who feels like he has long lost sight of the bold, daring filmmaking that earned him his reputation in the first place.
Child abuse, narcissism, psychopaths, schizophrenics, incest, pyromania, self-destruction and self-immolation - it has it all but uses none of it wisely.
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