“Scriptwriter Bruce Wagner, who crafted this lacerating portrait while he was working as a limousine driver in Tinseltown, is unflinching in his depiction,” according to The Belfast Newsletter in Ireland.
Despite the grim themes, the actors are getting solid reviews.
“Pattinson continues to shove a stake through the heart of his image as a swooning teen dreamboat in the ‘Twilight’ saga,” the paper reports.
Julianne Moore’s performance is called “fearless and emotionally raw.” She plays a fading screen siren, who is haunted by the ghost of her movie icon mother.
Mia Wasikowska, Pattinson’s love interest, is called “similarly impressive” as a pyromaniac with a deep, dark past.
Adds UK Independent critic Geoffrey McNab: “Robert Pattinson is charming and unctuous by turns as the narcissistic chauffeur whose loyalty can be broken in an instant.”
Robbie Collin, a critic for The Telegraph in London, calls the film nothing less than “tremendous.”
“[Director] David Cronenberg’s darkly hilarious tale of Hollywood dysfunction is his best film in a decade,” he writes.
The UK’s Birmingham Mail gives the movie four out of five stars.
The film screen at the Cannes International Film Festival earlier this year, where it received mixed reviews, although Moore won Best Actress for her role.
The Cannes consensus was “narratively unwieldy and tonally jumbled” according to rottentomatoes.com, which tracks reviews. So far, the film has scored a 50 rating based on Cannes reviews, which leaves it, for now, in the rotten bin.
“There’s a clinical detachment to [the film] … evident in the soap-opera cinematography, the half-hearted plotting and the contempt with which [Cronenberg] treats his characters,” wrote BBC critic Nicholas Barber back in May.
Focus World has acquired U.S. distribution rights for the picture with plans to release the film in the United States in early 2015.
Check out the trailer below featuring an exchange between Moore, Pattinson and Wasikowska, let us know your thoughts and be sure to follow IM on Twitter for the latest movie news.