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Maps to the Stars - 'often clever, often funny and often very Cronenberg'

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Mia Wasikowska in Maps to the Stars

Mia Wasikowska in Maps to the Stars

Mia Wasikowska in Maps to the Stars

Although David Cronenberg's latest creation, Maps to the Stars, is set in Hollywood, in many respects Hollywood is just a backdrop. The family melodrama around which it revolves could as easily take place in Meath, granted it's extreme, but extremes can happen anywhere.

However if the film's emotional core is universal, the script, by Brice Wagner who prides himself on being the Hollywood satirist who gets away with it from the inside, is very pointed in its assault on LA.

Agatha (Mia Wasikowska) gets off a bus in Hollywood and straight into a rented limo driven by Jerome (Robert Pattinson). She asks for a tour, surprised that the former home of Benjie Weiss (Evan Bird) is not on any star map.

Benjie is the thirteen-year-old star of massive success film Bad Babysitter and after a troubled summer of drugs, his mother (Olivia Williams) and father, new age therapist to the stars (John Cusack) are seeking to get him back earning.

On a recommendation from Carrie Fisher, who plays herself, Havana Segrand (Julianne Moore) employs Agatha and a kind of circle is closed.

Over the top like any decent melodrama, Maps to the Stars is often clever, often funny and often very Cronenberg.

Williams, Bird and Wasikowska give great performances, Cusack is good playing a creep and Julianne Moore steals the show.

In one of her most confident performances she gives dimensions to the interestingly awful Havana, creating a character from what could have been a caricature.

It's dark, odd and not for everyone, and I'm not sure it's as brave as it thinks it is, but there is a lot to enjoy within those parameters.

Now showing.

Sunday Independent