Directed by David Cronenberg
Written by Bruce Wagner
Staring Mia Wasikowska, John Cusack, Julianne Moore and Evan Bird
Christina Weiss: The whole world will know, they will know we did crimes.
Throughout his incredibly impressive career, David Cronenberg has created some of the most bizarrely grotesque films and shifted his way from pioneer of the body horror genre to the more accessible drama. It is no secret that I’m a huge fan of his work, but that applies to mostly anything prior to A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE, that is, until now. His latest film, MAPS TO THE STARS might just be his best film of the last 20 years, although I may be alone in saying so.
Agatha (Mia Wasikowska) is on her way to Hollywood to visit her internet friend Carrie Fisher. Her rented limo driver, Jerome (Robert Pattinson in a nod to Cronenberg’s previous film COSMOPOLIS) is an actor/writer trying to make it in the City of Angels, but with little luck. Without divulging too much of the incredibly complex plot, there is an incredible cast of characters lead by a highly unstable aging actress, Havana (Julianne Moore) with severe mommy issues that would give Christina Crawford a run for her money (and yes, there is even a MOMMY DEAREST reference). John Cusack plays Dr.Weiss, something of a self-help guru with a unique way of approaching life’s problems his wife, Christina (Olivia Williams) and their child star son, Benjie (Evan Bird). Bird’s performance as a Justin Beiber-esque character is almost on par with Moore’s, who gives the most powerful and demented turn of her career.
The whole film is a satire on the incestuous state of Hollywood, and it is in no way subtle. This twisted world, written by Bruce Wagner, is complemented well by Cronenberg’s directorial style. By creating his trademark sense of impending dread, we know something terrible will happen, we just never really know when. Believe me though, when the shit finally starts to hit the fan, it really goes flying. The comedy is a surprising addition to Cronenberg’s tone; he actually seems to be having a lot of fun with here, a shift from the usual dark and serious tones of his work. MAPS TO THE STARS is an absolutely brilliant treat for fans of this Canadian auteur. You will be disturbed but you will also be moved, deeply.