Maps to the Stars (2014)
written by Bruce Wagner
directed by David Cronenberg
I’ve been a fan of director David Cronenberg since I got into horror films in the 1980s. There are some obvious gems on his résumé, such as the four back-to-back punch of Scanners (1981), Videodrome (1983), The Dead Zone (1983), and The Fly (1986). One thing you can categorically say about his work is that no matter how much you may like or dislike it, it is always interesting. And while Maps to the Stars is no exception, it is definitely one of his lesser efforts.
The story follows a young off-kilter woman (Mia Wasikowska) who arrives in Los Angeles with a secret agenda and promptly becomes assistant to a has-been actress (Julianne Moore) itching for a comeback. There’s also a Justin Bieber-ish asshole teen actor (Evan Bird), a power-hungry TV psychologist (John Cusack), visions of dead kids, uncomfortable sex in limos, and good ol’ bloody murder. Should be fun, but soon Cronenberg’s take on the delusions of Hollywood actors, agents, and requisite sycophants grows tired, with a jumbled narrative that leads to a deeply unsatisfying resolution. If biting satire on the decadence of Tinseltown is what you crave, watch Sunset Boulevard (1950) instead.
Carlos I. Cuevas