Three male detectives become embroiled in a tense struggle after a tragic accident that leaves a child in a coma. One is guilty of a crime, one will try to cover it up, and the other attempts to expose it. How far will these men go to both disguise and unravel the truth?
A soldier introduces himself to the Peterson family, claiming to be a friend of their son who died in action. After the young man is welcomed into their home, a series of accidental deaths seem to be connected to his presence.
Wallace, who is burned out from a string of failed relationships, forms an instant bond with Chantry, who lives with her longtime boyfriend. Together, they puzzle out what it means if your best friend is also the love of your life.
Sandra, a young Belgian mother, discovers that her workmates have opted for a significant pay bonus, in exchange for her dismissal. She has only one weekend to convince her colleagues to give up their bonuses so that she can keep her job.
The Weiss family is the archetypical Hollywood dynasty: father Stafford is an analyst and coach, who has made a fortune with his self-help manuals; mother Cristina mostly looks after the career of their son Benjie, 13, a child star. One of Stafford's clients, Havana, is an actress who dreams of shooting a remake of the movie that made her mother, Clarice, a star in the 60s. Clarice is dead now and visions of her come to haunt Havana at night... Adding to the toxic mix, Benjie has just come off a rehab program he joined when he was 9 and his sister, Agatha, has recently been released from a sanatorium where she was treated for criminal pyromania and befriended a limo driver Jerome who is also an aspiring actor. Written by
In an almost 50-year career, this was the very first time that David Cronenberg ever filmed anything in the United States (his previous movies were mostly shot in Canada or the UK). The film shot for 5 days in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills (location manager Scott Trimble) and 24 days in Cronenberg's native Toronto (location manager Marty Dejczak). See more »
A very pleasant surprise to see this earlier than I was expecting. After Cosmopolis, which I enjoyed despite its many flaws, this multifaceted movie lifts the basic themes from Cronenberg's previous effort and melds them with the insane world of Hollywood, simultaneously creating a fascinating array of eccentric characters. This film has the obvious set-piece of Hollywood and its ills, but this is just a first layer, and a sort of framework for the rest of the movie to thrive on. The author of the screenplay (Bruce Wagner, former chauffeur) even commented that making a satire of Hollywood was far from what he was writing. The movie is also relevant to our society today, transcending the Hollywood setting. We are presented with a thoroughly fascinating cast of characters whose actions, problems and secrets again go beyond the simplistic view that this film is simply a satire or a preachy message about the pitfalls of Hollywood. I don't think that this movie could be any father from such a thing. And once the movie begins to descend into Cronenberg territory, you know you are in for a treat.
This certainly feels like it will be Cronenberg's most polarising film since CRASH. I have never seen such a film filled with an almost entire cast of thoroughly unlikeable characters. Each one is hiding something, or is lying to themselves. There are secrets abound and that notion is one of many that again turns this film into more than a sordid look into Hollywood. It certainly requires your attention as well: for me the plot only started to fall together around a third of the way through.
On one hand we have actress Hevana Segrand (Julianne Moore) who is insanely neurotic and slightly unstable. She seems determined to play her own mother in the remake of an older movie. Okaaay then! Next we have the dysfunctional family of Dr. Stafford Weiss (John Cusack, turning in an exceptional and amusing role as a pseudo-spiritual guru complete with healing powers and a hot temper) and Christina Weiss (Olivia Williams, playing her character to a tee, even if it was more subtle and nuanced than most of the other fun-filled characters). The child of this couple, Benjie (Evan Bird in a strong performance for a young actor), has been exposed to wealth and drugs at a very young age, but his attitude isn't just accurate to the role he plays. His attitude is very familiar to me, as someone who works with young people, and who most definitely lives nowhere near Hollywood! It was this character that I felt portrayed modern societies affects on young people perfectly. A good example of that is when asked about drug use, his response is, "I haven't used anything, not even Seroquel," which isn't illegal, or even a narcotic. But people certainly abuse them, predominately young people; it is a medication for psychotic/schizophrenic people. He is also a victim of deception by people close to him; yet another element of the film that transcends the Hollywood framework, and unfortunately something that is not uncommon in our society.
Robert Pattinson plays a chauffeur and budding actor who is essentially a spectator to the madness, and most probably a picture of the author who himself chauffeured Hollywood folk for many years. While he doesn't play a major role, I can't help but be astounded at the transformation after watching THE ROVER several times. He is certainly proving himself to be a formidable young actor.
The plot kicks off with the arrival of Agatha near the beginning of the movie (Mia Wasikowska, another superb role from this year. I had to double-check it was the same actress from THE DOUBLE). She is shrouded in mystery, yet the viewer knows she is somehow integral to the plot. The path her character follows is what ultimately drives this film, filled with uncomfortable subjects and people hesitant to trust, paranoid folk with (or think they have) secrets that must be hidden. Their convictions are deep and their will to protect their loved ones, to give them a sense of 'normality' is another big theme throughout the movie. Such as the way Agatha was never seen without her gloves to cover her burns, as well as many other aspects that I cannot go into without spoiling the movie. Just remember to put your thinking cap on before watching! This one is gonna rub some people the wrong way, there is no doubt about it. This is definitely the creepiest film he has done in a while. Of course that sense of creepiness is completely different from his earlier output, but Crash is definitely this movie's closest relative, along with Cosmopolis. A stellar job from one of my personal favourite directors. Could it have been better? The photography was bold without being flashy, and the soundtrack wasn't a prominent feature, but the 80's style sound of the synths gave it a unique sound as it bubbled in intensity as the movie progressed. I'm sure it could have been better, but I am struggling to find a reason for it. My heart was in my mouth for much of the movie right until the final minutes.
His best movie since EASTERN PROMISES, though it could not be more different from that film. This is a visceral look not only into the darker side of Hollywood, but also a look into the darker sides of the human condition.
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