June 13, 2015

Maps To The Stars

David Cronenberg, 2015
Cronenberg is a man not afraid to go to dark places. With Maps he also shows he's a man not afraid to go to dark places and also not afraid to ruffle some feathers. Maps is an indictment on Hollywood and the celebrity culture that surrounds it. He does this all through a cast of rather dreadful characters. Sociopathic past-her-prime actress Havana Segrand (perfectly cast Julianne Moore in her boldest role since Boogie Nights). Mentally-ill assistant with a shady past Agatha Weiss (Mia Wasikowska). Charlatan health guru Dr. Weiss (John Cusack). Justin Bieber-esque spoiled rich actor kid Benjie Weiss (Evan Bird). Self medicating ghost in the house Christina Weiss (Olivia Williams). Nobody is really spared in the film. They are all figures that have their own ulterior motives, own selfish needs. There is nobody present that has much purity. And yet, with all of the darkness that is emanating through the story, its a completely seductive film. Maybe it's for the pure theater of it all. Maybe it's that you want to see certain people get what's coming to them. Maybe it's because you really want to see how far they will take it. What their personal limits really are. You want to see how low people really can go. How much of their own soul they are willing to sell for a piece of temporary success. Maps makes Los Angeles look like it's a city that belongs on another planet. Because the people in this story aren't really human. They are cold effigies. They are the hollow remnants of creatures that used to be human, but over time lost their souls. Can the L.A. culture really do this to you? Cronenberg would certainly have you believing so.

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