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Maps To The Stars Review

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He may be an acquired taste for some, but you’re always guaranteed an experience with a David Cronenberg movie. And yes, some of those experiences can leave alot to be desired. However, with Maps To The Stars, the director is firing on nearly all cylinders.

Centralised around two main plots, which interweave with each other and a secondary story line that also manages to connect in when required, Maps To The Stars is quite the rollercoaster. The movie delves into the heart of Hollywood, as Havana Segrand (Julianne Moore) desperately tries to remain current while Benjie Weiss (Evan Bird), a huge child star, starts battling his demons. That’s the core of the story, but the real heart of it all lies around Mia Wasikowska’s character, Agatha as she turns up and after befriending Carrie Fisher (playing herself here) becomes Havana’s personal assistant. In a nutshell, everybody is fucked up in Maps To The Stars. Weak willed and weak minded, the cast slowly spiral into insanity, self obsession and self preservation with some bloody results in the process. The real Hollywood could never be like this, right?

The casting here is rather inspired with Julianne Moore giving a career best performance. No matter what scene she’s in, from threesomes to bizarre massage sessions with John Cusack, she ignites the screen time and time again. And in true Hollywood style, while she is slowly breaking down, she manages to keep on a brave face. Moore does this incredibly organically  and Maps To The Stars is genuinely one of her greatest roles ever. The supporting cast are as solid, with Mia Wasikowska in particular being another shining light. Like Moore before her, she also manages to keep a phenomenal intensity under wraps and it’s only towards the end does it start to erupt. Even when it does, she has a really creepy calmness about her. While Robert Pattinson and John Cusack are underused, they have adequate screen time and serve their purpose in the overall movie.

Visually, Croenenberg hasn’t got much to do here. Sure, it’s got nice house and nice cars, not to mention plenty of beautiful people, and the movie is shot well, but it probably is one of the more tamer Cronenberg outings than what we’re used to. That’s not a bad thing, as the movie and story is demented enough, so the visuals are a welcome relief from the insanity. However, it does have a number of clever little touches. Moore’s character is constantly trying to be number one, but even as the movie’s infamous threesome highlights, she’s only second best. Another one that springs to mind is how Agatha’s character is promised a Mustang, near the opening of the movie. It’s not until the last half hour or so, that we actually see the Mustang, partially obscured, through an open door. It’s a small touch, but one that just gives the movie an extra level of depth.

With some phenomenal performances on offer, especially by Julianne Moore, Maps To The Stars is fiendishly clever in places and is topped off by sheer insanity. Well worth a watch!

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The Movie Bit: Maps To The Stars Review
Maps To The Stars Review
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