Sunday, August 26, 2012

Cosmopolis Review

“A rat became the unit of currency.”
-Zbigniew Herbert.

In this day and age, if anyone can describe Capitalism as a disease ridden rodent it is David Cronenberg. In his new film "Cosmopolis", starring Robert Pattinson, the rat has become the symbol for all economic progress or downfall. The relevance of this film is staggering due to a post 2008 financial crisis, one which many people still face. Most will presume this is Pattinson's exploration into a new form of film since his final Twilight film is this year. But this film is not simplistic in any way, it is cerebral.

Cosmopolis is the story of multi-Billionaire Eric Packer(he doesn't dawn the bat suite. Totally different billionaire you are thinking about) who wants a haircut. His chauffeur advises him that the president will be in town that day, which will ultimately make the ride a little more difficult. Throughout the course of a sex, economic, food, anarchy protest driven day. Eric still waits for his haircut knowing that his life is at risk, he still ventures to receive his desires.

Now I'm not the biggest fan of Pattinson, but before I say my opinion of his performance I'd just like to say that I haven't liked his performances in Twilight(it's like starring at a wall), I can say this is his best performance to date but it's an okay performance, it's not that impressive. However, I would like it if he would do more films like these to prove to cinephiles that he is not just that twilight guy.

While it's very easy to note that Cronenberg has been playing the safe side for the past few years, this seems like his more ambitious and weirder films like "Videodrome", "Dead Ringers", "Naked Lunch" and "Crash". I personally did not like "Dangerous Method", I thought it was pure Oscar Bait, "A History of Violence" and "Easter Promises" are both great films, but they lacked the weirdness that his earlier films had, which is what helps "Cosmopolis" become such a great film.

While I stated that Pattinson is okay, I do love the character. Here is a character that is has everything, but wants and desires something as simple as a haircut. He is on the edge of his sanity, and is purposely betting all of his money against himself. He has his appointments in his limo, including a check up by his doctor, numerous sexual encounters, and has many food based encounters with his wife. He is narcissistic, cold and alienating, he isn't the hunk from Twilight that many of his fans will be expecting.

This film is dialogue driven and it can put some people off. It alienates the viewer intentionally as the film goes on, but the dialogue is so well written and smart that it's almost hard to not be interested as it goes on.

The main setting, the limo, is very scifi, it's unrealistic but very real. It's Oscar worthy for a Production Designers point of view. The Limo is were most of the action takes place, were the conversations are staged. The viewer almost feels like we are in the limo with these characters because it becomes familiar throughout. We see it drive off in the beginning, watch conversations about capitalism, watch Eric have sex in it, watch him cry, watch it getting destroyed by anarchists, watch him get a check up by a doctor, and piss in it, essentially, the limo becomes a character.

There isn't much violence, but with whatever violence we do get, it's very well done. My personal favorite scene involves a riot which *spoiler alert* vandalizes the limo. The entire scene is Eric and this woman talking about the future while a riot plays in the background, the scene mostly focuses on the conversation rather than the riot, but it has an effect that sends a chill through your spine.

The performances are good. Some characters I wish could have been fleshed out a bit more, but otherwise they were good enough to watch entirely. Some could have been a little more realistic and some were beyond unrealistic. I really didn't buy Eric's wife, she seemed way too mysterious for her own good and otherwise I couldn't really care about her. Paul Giamatti's last 20 minutes actually had me on the edge of my seat and had my heart beating quickly. His character is scary and subtle.

This is a film about ideas, not emotion. It will end up on my Top 10 of 2012 easily. However, I'm pretty sure this will not be in favor at the Oscars next year since their current streak with films about emotions rather than ideas(Extremely Close anyone?) always dominate every categories.

I Give it 4.5/5 Stars


  1. Interesting review. I did want to see this one, perhaps make it the first Cronenberg film i've seen.

  2. cosmopolis complete failure