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I've read one Don Dellilo book and I found that almost impenetrable. It was a series of unconnected ramblings that you may invest a little interest in before abruptly moving on to the next. Well this film based on another novel by the same author doesn't even have the good grace to make any sense. None of the scenes even seem to relate to each other apart from some drippy overarching concept about business being bad and sticking it to the man or whatever. A stoned 15 year old could have written this script, it. is. drivel. This must be nailed on to be my worst film of the year.
It's inherently a fool's errand, making real human beings say the deliberately inhuman dialogue of Don DeLillo. Every actor fails because it's an impossible task, and it's about as insightful as Robocop (I don't like DeLillo's cynical philosophies, but I like reading his writing) so I can't explain why I found this so entertaining. It's one of those Brown Bunny/Twentynine Palms type of things, where I should be hating everything on screen (in fact that's kinda the point) and yet I'm inexplicably enthralled.
Rambling socialites who hate their dreary lives because they know too much and can't connect with anyone. I couldn't care less.
Paul Giamatti could have saved this film if he didn't only appear in the very last act. He's so good. The rest of the film wasn't so good. You know when a film is going for a weird like, vibe, but you can feel it going for it, and you can feel that it's not getting there, and you're sitting there with it in that awkward space between where it is and where you'd both rather be. That's Cosmopolis.
David, I admire you, but in all sincerity you lost me towards the end of the movie.
Painfully dull. Stopped watching, was close to the end.
Distant, intelligent, and captivating, David Cronenberg is one of the few artists working in cinema today.
The cinematic equivalent to a prostate exam (uncomfortable, intrusive and generally unwelcome), Canadian director David Cronenberg's adaption of Bronx-born writer Don DeLillo 2003 novel is obtuse, remote and somewhat irrelevant to the current economic climate.
Cronenberg's theory that movies should not be easy and the art of exploring human nature is worth a little bit of confusion, proves that his previous efforts of 1999's eXistenZ, 1991's Naked Lunch and 1983'3 Videodrome were merely a jumping point for his existentialism. His tenacious mindset to adapt simply unfilmable books leaves his works in the unenviable position of having limited appeal.
The day the presidential motorcade brings the city of New York to a grinding-holt, Asset Manager Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson) decides he wants a haircut.
Demanding that his omnipresent chief-of-security Torval (Kevin Durand) disregard traffic and a creditable threat to Packers life; the young dotcom billionaire capitalist lounges in his ultra-plush personalized stretch limo as they travel clear across town for the meaningless errand.
A revolving door of accommodating visitors jump-in the vehicle as summoned. Computer whiz kid Shiner (Jay Baruchel) helps track loses in the funds hemorrhaging Yuan, Art Dealer Didi (Juliette Binoche) enthusiastically provides sexual indulgence, his finance minister Jane (Emily Hampshire) speculates on the business ramifications of the days' fiasco in fortunes as an unfamiliar doctor provides his daily check-up and states irrelevantly he has an asymmetrical prostate.
Riding the tumultuous money market wave as it descends into chaos, Packer is oblivious or rather unperturbed that the literal world around him is also in a similar state of discontent. Only ever leaving his mobile penthouse to harass and eat with his attractive but disconnected robotic new wife, Elise (Sarah Gadon).
The corporate mogul weathers a violent demonstration by protesting anarchists carrying giant symbolic rats and spray painting his car but it all solicits no reaction; a testament to his lack of interest for life. Reaching his barber destination, the haircut fails to satiate whatever need pulled him there; in search of a new end-game Packer actively seeks out the antagonist who threatened his life.
A tragic failure of a man who wants desperately to count for something, Benno Levin (the ever talented Paul Giamatti) poses only questions that cause further indifference. Can anything reach the emotional ameba that is Packer?
Full of ideas that are lost in stylized translation, the talky dialogue - reproduced almost unchanged from the book - is a definite weakness. Reading is not the same as listening and the gapping chasm between prose and motion does DeLillo's disturbingly fascinating book no favors.
Cosmopolis's manufactured and stilted sentiment about world economy, self- indulgence and political pretentiousness attempts to invite analysis, discussion and opinion but its frustrating tedium creates a fog of disinterest in which viewer's attention is lost.
Between the overwhelming use of perplexing and overtly contemplative narratives regarding capitalism, technology, control and sexual urges, and the surreal nature of the story, we are emotionally distance from the core subject and have little to no empathy of the films lead and by extension the film itself.
It is yet to be seen whether pubescent fans will acquiesce Pattinson's exodus from cult teen dream roles but his vehement pursuit of gritty characters is knowingly calculated. As an expressionless passion lacking character that holds his own psychotic declarations as prudent certainties, Pattinson is given the opportunity to perfect the art of brooding, which he does with alacrity.
In a blink and you'll miss it instant, there is a wonderfully natural moment where we are privy to a Brad Pitt Fight club style persona that Pattinson is obviously gifted at performing. Hopefully a future role will allow this room to flourish and for Pattinson to become memorable for something other than a frozen faced vampiric caricature.
Constrained by only 20 minutes' screen time, the far too late arrival of the truly talented and Oscar nominated Paul Giamatti gives the film's final act it's only sincerely engaging sequence whilst Gadon and Binoche's characters are both too affected to connect.
The Verdict: A great book does not equal a great film, especially when it poses the question, what does it all mean? And viewer's dismissive response after mulling it, why should we care?
Published: The Queanbeyan Age
Date of Publication: 10/08/2012
Cosmopolis is an okay film. It is about a 28-year-old billionaire asset manager's day devolves into an odyssey with a cast of characters that start to tear his world apart. Robert Pattinson and Juliette Binoche give decent performances. The screenplay is slow in places. David Cronenberg did an alright job directing this movie. I liked this motion picture because of the drama.
I really enjoyed this Cronenberg film. Though my favourite films of his are the incredible ones he did in my teens, during the 80's ('Videodrome', 'The Dead Zone' and 'The Fly' are nothing short of outstanding, and works that no one else could have come up with), he's really been thinking outside of the box for the past decade (even for a consistently interesting creature such as he), and it's only been recently, with both Sarah Polley and Denis Villeneuve emerging as vital directors, that his ranking as the greatest Canadian director ever has even had suitable competition for comparison.
I remembered when this came out, and I believe a critic from 'The Globe and Mail' interviewed Cronenberg at its opening at Cannes, and he was almost apologetic about using Pattinson. It sounded like he didn't want to have to direct him. He made the excuse that he couldn't get funding for his projects from North America anymore, which is a dirty rotten shame, and had to go to Europe and Asia any time he wanted to make a film in order to have it bankrolled, and the Japanese insisted on star power to put moviegoers in the seats, and said there'd only be financial backing if Cronenberg directed Pattinson. This was my first experience watching the actor's work, and he did a fine job, no problem. The supporting cast was strong, with many of my favourite character actors of late, such as Paul Giamatti and Jay Baruchel. The script, co-written by Cronenberg, was a strong statement about just how out of touch the very rich are with the other 99% of us. I docked my mark by 1/10 because I was pissed off that Cronenberg degraded one of the finest actresses of our lifetime, Juliette Binoche here. I can't even talk about it. It was as difficult for me to tolerate as Spike Lee having Christopher Plummer call Jodie Foster a c*** in the otherwise excellent 'Inside Man'. Lee's off my Christmas card list for sure this year, but Cronenberg being a fellow Canadian (I bet you thought I was going to say white, hahaha), I'll be less angry. But he better look over his shoulder if he tries something like THAT again. I was THAT close to crossing HIM off my Christmas card list too...
I also remember from the time the film came out, an article and rating on the film (I think it was 'The Globe and Mail' as well, and by the same critic who had earlier interviewed him), saying that when he watched it, he watched a few teenage girls leaving the theatre (most probably because Pattinson was in it), saying it was the worst movie they had ever seen. That's the only evidence you need that this is a fine movie, well worth your time.