Tawdry Tinseltown to
Rosi, now 91, retired from film after his 1997 adaptation of Primo Levi’s memoir, The Truce. His intellectual rigour is sorely missed.
MAPS TO THE STARS Directed by David Cronenberg. Starring Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, Evan Bird, Olivia Williams, Sarah Gadon, John Cusack, Robert Pattinson. 18 cert, gen release, 112 min Dr Stafford Weiss (John Cusack) is a horrid psychotherapist who has made a fortune with his self-help manuals; his snake-oil therapies go over well with ghastly, self-absorbed actors such as Havana Segrand (Julianne Moore), a fading star who has made claims of maternal sexual abuse against her late, more famous mother. Well, you know where to look for the best yarn of the week. On the surface, Human Capital sounds like a 1980s soap operas about decadent industrialists with harridans for wives. There’s some of that going on. But the knottiness of the plot and the brilliance of the performances mark it apart.
Set in Milan, the picture – told in discrete chapters, each of which covers the same period – follows several unfortunate folk connected to Giovanni (Fabrizio The long dead legend continues to make cameo appearances as a caustic, belittling spectre (Sarah Gadon) in her needy, unlikable daughter’s life.
Elsewhere, Weiss’s wife Cristina (Olivia Williams) plays mom-ager to their nasty 13-year-old son Benjie (Evan Bird), a child star who makes Justin Beiber’s worst outbursts look like unflinching altruism.
For all the glass walls and phoney therapy, the Weiss family have secrets, not the least of which concern Agatha (Mia Wasikowska), their scarred pyromaniac daughter. She manufactures a friendship with Carrie Fisher (playing Gifuni), a corrupt property developer. Dino (Fabrizio Bentivoglio), a local buffoon whose daughter Serena (Matilde Gioli) dated the crook’s son, is persuaded to invest money in an unstable venture. Giovanni’s wife Celia (Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi) becomes involved in redevelopment schemes. In the final breathless section, we follow Serena as her story connects dots and solves mysteries.
The story hangs around a late-night car accident. Some