Directed by David Cronenberg
Written by Bruce Wagner
Starring Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, Robert Pattinson, John Cusack, Olivia Williams
As critics map the stars of Cronenberg’s latest, the facial and vocal contortions of Moore’s transformation into the uptalking over-sharer Havana will make her a focal point, but no one in Maps puts a foot wrong. If only we could forget they’re acting.
The slow-burning plot is flawless, opening with biting observation and dripping with insider references, including a line from Moore recalling the adulterous behaviour of her character in The Kids are All Right.
Expertly-handled sound effects like pills striking teeth help document the Hollywood lifestyle, and the emphasised sounds of a beating are repeated to link crucial episodes.
“They fuck you up, your mum and dad”; it’s an unoriginal concept but rarely has this story been told with such visual flair, narrative ingenuity and, despite a character uttering a pivotal fact in the first act, mystery. Cronenberg’s probing of the darkness beneath Hollywood’s well-groomed façade is a veneer itself; satire gradually gives way to the film’s core, a psychological thriller with twin tragedies at its centre.