An aging actress pursues the role which made her mother famous while a young woman comes back to Hollywood searching for something she lost…
How to begin with Maps to the Stars…? It’s the latest film from Canadian helmer David Cronenberg, which used to be a good thing before the double whammy of the dull as ditchwater A Dangerous Method and the ponderously pitiful Cosmopolis.
The once great body horror maestro behind the likes of The Fly and Scanners has been creeping away from that oeuvre for years, heading for mainstream territory with the very entertaining A History of Violence in 2005. Eastern Promises was very watchable but it’s all been navel gazing nonsense since then.
And it probably comes as no surprise that Maps to the Stars doesn’t reverse the trend, dealing as it does with stars, Hollywood, excess and other nonsense. Terrifyingly enough, its still Cronenberg’s best film in years.
That’s mostly down to a terrific star turn from Julianne Moore who single-handedly anchors an otherwise awkwardly paced and often indifferently performed film. She’s big and brash and totally without limits, horrible and fascinating at the same time.
The same can’t really be said for the rest of the cast, though they are generally unpleasant, to a person. Mia Wasikowska does decent crazy and there’s Robert Pattinson (for some reason) as well as a terrible child actor played by Evan Birdwho gets slightly less insufferable before the end.
Otherwise, it’s all terribly boring. The supposed revelations of the story are doles out casually and the skewering of celeb culture is rarely entertaining. Cronenberg unleashes his horror skills on just a single occasion and its a rare burst of energy in an otherwise plodding picture.
I’m going to go watch The Fly again.