As with aflickering, let me congratulate Stephanie Zacherek for being one of the rare reviewers to see "The Canyons" on its own terms - and not as some cypher of the sturm und drang of the circus paparazzi. The truth telling function of art, drama, and film is too often tossed under the bus, weighed down with cliche-riven bigotry.
Schrader's vision is about contemporary Hollywood-soul corruption, much in the vein of "Mulholland Drive" two decade ago. Character's revealed do trump the plot points. Christian's "possessiveness flowers into something sinister, like a hothouse Hollywood version of Liaisons Dangereuses," indeed.
The critics own narcissistic deportments rather prove the point of this morality tale - and Stephanie's contrast of Schrader's morally centered career themes against by Spielberg and Scorsese's ingrained compromising is industrial counterpoint.
"Schrader is [indeed] a moralist" much like Hogarth's "A Harlot's Progress," both acutely observed and tempered: "He doesn't delight in the nastier side of human nature; he's sorry, on behalf of all of us, that things have to be this way." Because Hollywood is "where you can live your dreams or become completely trapped—you're unlucky only if you can't tell which is which." Which is why Tara is its center, and Lohan inhabits her completely.
Lindsey Lohan is fortunate to have Schrader here, just as Marilyn Monroe was lucky to have John Huston in "The Misfits." Both are the poignant poster children of borderline personality disorder for their times - because like hothouse flowers, they would wilt under any other's less than indulgent hands.