A tour into the heart of a Hollywood family chasing celebrity, one another and the relentless ghosts of their pasts.A tour into the heart of a Hollywood family chasing celebrity, one another and the relentless ghosts of their pasts.A tour into the heart of a Hollywood family chasing celebrity, one another and the relentless ghosts of their pasts.
All this is something like what we might see - and most importantly hear - if anyone ever filmed a Brett Eason Ellis novel properly, without being afraid of going to town on the dialogue (why hasn't Cronenburg ever worked with Ellis?). As such, it's an interesting point of comparison with Cronenburg's previous film, Cosmopolis, also heavy on the chilly, anomic modern rich person dialogue, courtesy of Don de Lillo, which, taken on its own, looks like woefully pretentious proof that you can't do this in film. Turns out you can, with bells on, though actually, Cronenburg films have been demonstrating this at least since Dead Ringers.
Other than these talky highlights, I think this film has a few problems of its own, some of them maybe also around pretentiousness. The big one for me is just the messiness of the message and plot, as a unity, which it isn't really. Moore's storyline on its own is a perfect, pitilessly poisonous Hollywood satire. Does it really need, in addition, a parallel plot that never quite meshes about incest and schizophrenia? Why? To round it out to feature film length? To give it some spurious intellectual heft in the form of references to Greek tragedy and elemental symbolism?
To be honest, there may be a puzzle here that I haven't worked out, because quite a lot of that dialogue I like so much seems to be satirising precisely such tendencies, particularly when Moore's character ghoulishly invokes fire and water to implicitly celebrate the death of a child because it gets her a part. And that's another reason I might watch again. But still, the problem remains, I don't think you need the incest or the schizophrenia to satirise Hollywood, because it introduces a sort of separate issue, a distinct emotional antagonist if you will, where Hollywood itself seems like the real target and should surely be all you need to explain all this very bad behaviour.
- Dec 26, 2019