Maps to the Stars | David Cronenberg’s shockingly perverse, bracingly cynical Hollywood satire

Maps to the Stars Julianne Moore Havana Segrand

David Cronenberg’s shockingly perverse, bracingly cynical Hollywood satire Maps to the Stars portrays Los Angeles as a combination of cesspit and snakepit, a place whose residents are uniformly depraved and venomous.

Take Julianne Moore’s fading actress Havana Segrand, dreaming of making a comeback in a remake of her dead movie icon mother’s most famous film; or Mia Wasikowska’s enigmatic burn-scarred Agatha, a seeming ingénue with a dark secret agenda.

Then there’s John Cusack’s fraudulent self-help guru Dr Stafford Weiss, his briskly businesslike wife Christina (Olivia Williams) and their son Benjie (Evan Bird), an obnoxious 13-year-old child star fresh out of rehab. Robert Pattinson’s limo-driving actor-writer wannabe is perhaps the closest the film has to a ‘normal’ person, yet even he is considering the career move of becoming a Scientologist.

The plot that ties these characters together – concocted by caustic LA novelist Bruce Wagner (who made the surreal TV series Wild Palms with Oliver Stone back in the early 1990s) – is a mix of Greek tragedy and Hollywood Babylon: horrifying, hallucinatory and deliciously compelling.

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Certificate 18. Runtime 112 mins. Director David Cronenberg.

 

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