Cronenberg’s new Film “Maps To The Stars” is a Poison Pen Letter to Hollywood.

Maps To The Stars.

Maps To The Stars.

David Cro­nen­berg’s new film Maps To The Stars arrives here from this year’s Cannes Film Fes­ti­val where it was screened in May. Most of the famous satires on Hol­ly­wood are secret­ly in awe of the place. The Play­er, The Bad and the Beau­ti­ful, even Sun­set Boule­vard (all reviewed ear­li­er here) have an under­ly­ing warmth and exhib­it a shy love love view of Hol­ly­wood. Not this one.

Julianne Moore plays an actress who’s seen bet­ter days and has nev­er real­ly come to terms with the death of the moth­er who brought her up so dis­as­trous­ly. She takes on Mia Wasikows­ka as her per­son­al assis­tant. Her estranged moth­er and father are a famous pow­er cou­ple over­see­ing the mete­oric career of her 13 year old brother.

James Spader in Crash.

James Spad­er in Crash.

There’s a strong sense of impend­ing doom and Greek tragedy to the film, sug­gest­ing the Oresteia. And the air of neme­sis, hubris and inevitable ret­ri­bu­tion hang heavy through­out. All the cast are excel­lent, and it’s easy to see how Moore won the Best Actress Award at Cannes. But it’s equal­ly easy to see why the film failed to win any of the main prizes.

Robert Pattinson and Sarah Gadon return from Cosmopolis for Cronenberg's new film.

Robert Pat­tin­son and Sarah Gadon return from Cos­mopo­lis for Cro­nen­berg’s new film.

Yes it’s extra­or­di­nar­i­ly caus­tic, and unremit­ting­ly bleak (and often very fun­ny) about the sorts of lives that those who inhab­it Hol­ly­wood live. And, it has to be said, all too believ­ably so. But more than that, there’s a clin­i­cal cold­ness to the film’s final quar­ter. Unlike Crash, which gives an equal­ly dystopi­an overview of the mod­ern world, Maps To The Stars sinks to its con­clu­sion instead of ris­ing to an emo­tion­al crescen­do. Its spir­it is Apol­lon­ian rather than Dionysian, and it ends up being a film that you great­ly admire instead of being one that you’re dev­as­tat­ed by.

Nonethe­less, togeth­er with the recent Cos­mopo­lis (reviewed ear­li­er here) it’s anoth­er impres­sive addi­tion to Cronenberg’s august back cat­a­logue. And he con­tin­ues to be one the very few seri­ous film mak­ers around. You can see the trail­er to Maps To The Stars here.

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