Maps to the Stars
Maps to the Stars is not a coherent whole, but rather an assemblage of sadistic caricatures of various Hollywood types – the washed-up and neurotic former star (Moore), the too-much-too-soon pre-teen brat superstar (Bird), the chauffeur who longs to act (Pattinson), etc. We’re meant to be disgusted by their shallowness, selfishness, avarice, but it’s difficult, because the whole thing rarely rises above in-jokey parody, and we hardly ever care enough about the characters to feel anything at all.
There’re a few attempts at pathos, but really it’s a film that deals in almost absolute irony, and it’s terrifying for it. Not terrifying in the usual Cronenbergian sense, but terrifying in that a director of Cronenberg’s ability actually believes such a film is worth making, has something human to impart. Because, finally, it isn’t, and it doesn’t. The irony’s corrosive all right, but what else is it doing here other than corroding? What are we left with by the satire’s end? Nothing but a few good jokes. [Kristian Doyle]