“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those timid spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.” – T.R. Roosevelt
David Cronenberg is a great director. From essential experiments like Videodrome and Naked Lunch to mature and gripping crowd pleasers like The Fly, A History of Violence, Eastern Promises, the man has created a filmography that constitutes a must-see list for those who engage with film as an art form as serious as it is entertaining. In short, David Cronenberg isn’t just cranking ‘em out and cashing checks.
So Maps to the Stars doesn’t quite work. So it’s a bit too elliptical at some points, too on-the-nose at others. So it’s 111 minutes spent with terrible people doing mean things to one another, with no audience-identification characters and no hint of levity to season the mix. So it’s a miserable way to spend a couple of hours.
I’d still rather watch it than Ted 2. Cronenberg’s daring a mighty thing with Maps to the Stars, tackling a tough story peopled with difficult characters and trying to make something of it. Even if he doesn’t quite pull it off, I’d rather watch one of Cronenberg’s misses than many other filmmakers’ hits.