18th Feb2015

‘Maps to the Stars’ Review

by Richard Axtell

Stars: Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, Robert Pattinson, John Cusack, Evan Bird, Olivia Williams, Sarah Gadon, Kiara Glasco, Dawn Greenhalgh, Jonathan Watton, Jennifer Gibson, Gord Rand, Justin Kelly, Niamh Wilson, Clara Pasieka | Written by Bruce Wagner | Directed by David Cronenberg


Maps to the Stars is a film which explores the effect of our celebrity-obsessed society. Following a variety of famous characters who are trying to hide their secrets from the lime light, worlds come crashing down around them as Agatha Weiss comes to town. Recently freed from a psychiatric hospital she has arrived to search for her family who abandoned her a long time ago.

Well. Yes. I am not really sure how to start with Maps to the Stars. So let’s start with the obvious. Julianne Moore is crazy. In this film I mean, I couldn’t describe her sanity in real life because I don’t know her. But, in this film she is crazy and boy does she do it well. Definitely one of the strongest roles throughout. Not once did I find her character likeable or in anyway sane. Kudos to Moore for not restraining the crazy and just letting rip (sometimes in the literal sense) with her acting. She was definitely a, if not the, highlight of Maps to the Stars.

In fact, the whole film could be described as pretty crazy; insanity being a theme which is heavily explored throughout. You’ve got MiaWasikowska as an insane burn victim trying to find her family, Evan Bird seeing dead people, John Cusack and Olivia Williams as a couple with a dark secret haunting them, Robert Pattinson as a…. driver… of cars. OK that last one wasn’t really that insane, but you get the idea. Each character has their own little story intertwined into the main plot and as they start to tangle together the result is a little, well, crazy. I got lost quite a few times, wondering who was doing what, where and why. It starts to clear up towards the end, but that isn’t before an hour and a half of staring at the screen with a combination of confusing, horror and interest all smushed together on your face.

To be fair to the film, it kept me watching. I wanted to see how it was all going to turn out because I had no idea. I don’t think I could honestly say that this film kept me hooked though and if that strange interest in how it would end wasn’t there, I wouldn’t have kept watching. If that doesn’t pretty much sum up this film, I don’t know what will. Watch it if you want and it may hold your interest for a few hours, but will you ever want to go back and watch it again? I doubt it.

Maps to the Stars is out now on DVD and Blu-ray from eOne.


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