Starry Eyes is a film about a young Hollywood hopeful who is stuck at a dead-end waitress job. She is at a new casting call every week but she never gets any callbacks. What starts out as just another rejection turns out to be rewarding in a strange way. She is asked to perform in unusual ways but she agrees and gets the part. It’s only when she has the meeting with the film’s producer that she realizes there is a big catch. It turns out it takes a lot to be transformed into one of the greats.
I saw the big catch coming a mile away. The film relies on the foreshadowing a bit much and would’ve benefited from some mysteriousness. After her second casting attempt it was pretty clear what was going to happen. Maybe a couple of scenes where the actress is now on the set of the actual movie, filming the first scenes but with weird twists. Also, while I found the portrayal of the yuppie Hollywood twenty-somethings accurate, the one “adversary friend” started to lay it on too thick. At the start it was fine but eventually any real group of friends would probably have stopped hanging out with a complete jealous bitch. Lastly, I thought Starry Eyes wasted the talent of Noah Segan (Brick, Looper, Deadgirl). He usually plays a great sordid antagonist, but this time he is expended on a throwaway nice guy character.
Now that I have all of the bad things out of the way I can talk about what Starry Eyes does right. First off, Alex Essoe does a fantastic job embodying the common failed actress phenomenon with her mild-mannered but desperate-to-be-famous lead. She also proves she can switch to a darker side, both in the tantrum scenes and during her rise to the top. Let me make it clear that at a certain point in the movie you stop rooting for the main character.
Starry Eyes takes some time to get going but when it’s in full stride is when the magic happens. The blood starts to spill and an abrupt wake up call is issued to the audience, with gore that made even the mighty Manster squirm. At one point I’m pretty sure I exclaimed, “OH, DAMN!” so loud I woke my keeper up from all the way down here in my cage! Just know that when the killer puts down the knife and reaches for a secondary weapon SHIT IS ABOUT TO GO DOWN.
The film explores how difficult it can be to break through in the show business industry and how devastatingly gutting it must feel to be turned down audition after audition. Additionally, Starry Eyes presents the idea that all of the most famous people in Hollywood, past and present, are products of a creepy ritual and cheated their way to the top of the food chain. Hmm, I wonder if the director was trying to make a statement…
4 leading roles out of 5