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.
DIRECTOR: David Cronenberg
WRITER: Bruce Wagner
CAST: Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, Robert Pattinson, John Cusack, Olivia Williams
SYNOPSIS: An uncompromising look at the desperation of past-it LA actress Havana Segrand (Moore) and the demons of a starry Hollywood family with whom her life intersects.