Maps to the Stars
Bolstered by a powerful female cast - from the raw and vanity-free Julianne Moore to the cold and yet fragile Mia Wasikowska and the always talented and under-rated Olivia Williams - David Cronenberg's latest is a dark, strange satire on the dysfunction of Hollywood that lies below all the glitz and glamour.
The story, written by Bruce Wagner, unfold in layers and in pieces, with each piece slowly falling into place as the layers are slowly peeled off. All that happened as Wagner and Cronenberg satirised the dark comedic truths behind the Hollywood machine. With name-droppings like snow in Winter, the pop-savvy and intelligent audience will get the comedy behind the darkness. However, if not, some parts may not make much sense.
Moore was riveting throughout the movie as we see her character morph and change through the 112 minutes. The accolades were justified as was her Best Actress win at Cannes'. The role was vanity-free and Moore really let herself go and embraced all the idiosyncrasies, the outrageous-ness and the narcissism of her character and made her feel real and not a caricature.
Moore was matched by Wasikowska. This girl is going to win an Oscar really soon - her body of work is phenomenal! Thank you, Tim Burton for bringing her to the masses! But, Wasikowsa, please stick to these brilliant indies. Wasikowska definitely had the more complicated character to play - and some may argue the real lead of the movie - and she did it with aplomb! That raw, naked vulnerability mixed with a strange innocent maleficence is creepy yet alluring. She draws you in to her story and keep you there - locked, chained and possibly drugged.
Williams had a smaller role compared to Moore and Wasikowsa, but what she did with her screen time was truly amazing. She was equally magnetic as the strong, take-no-BS momager and as the frightened, teetering-on-a-breakdown mother.
The men in the show were sadly not up to the strength of the ladies, and the writing may have been at fauly. Robert Pattinson was actually understatedly appropriate for his I'm-there-only-to-move-the-plot-along role; John Cusack's character was not well written which may have led to his rather boring and one-dimensional portrayal; Evan Bird's neck is too long which was distracting, but other than that, his make up was too thick and distracting, although his character was actually quite interesting.