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Review: Cosmopolis

Cosmopolis
05.30.2012
5 10

PLOT: Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson) - a billionaire asset manager, travels in his high-tech stretch limo across NYC to get a haircut. Along the way, he confers with various employees, an art dealer (Juliette Binoche), a financial guru (Samantha Morton), and pursues his distant wife (Sarah Gadon). He also dodges periodic assassination attempts, and various riots.

REVIEW: COSMOPOLIS is a film I wanted to like. While I’d never say David Cronenberg is a can’t miss director for me (his films are too divisive for that- and that’s what makes them interesting), more than not, I tend to go for his movies in a big way. I love early Cronenberg (SCANNERS, VIDEODROME, THE DEAD ZONE, THE FLY and DEAD RINGERS), and both HISTORY OF VIOLENCE and EASTERN PROMISES struck me as good as anything he’s ever done.

Of course, there was the Robert Pattinson factor, but if Cronenberg was able to see something in him for the part, I was all for it. Worse actors than Pattinson have come into their own with the right role, but sadly- this isn’t it. To me anyways.

You see, I have a feeling COSMOPOLIS is going to have a lot of fans, even if I’m not one. It’s not that I thought it was an awful film, but it’s just far too talky, dull and pretentious to really work for me as anything other than a bore. As a book- I’m sure Don DeLillo’s novel was thought-provoking. As a film, it borders on excruciating. Cronenberg seems to have instructed all of his actors to perform in a strangely passive, vacant way, and Pattinson- who’s often been accused of this before, fits right in in this regard. But damn if he’s not dull, dull, DULL.


I get that he’s supposed to be playing this numb billionaire, who only feels alive on the brink of ruin- but his performance is so one-note that even if he’s starting to get some kind of edge towards the end, you’d never know it. He’s downright robotic throughout, although perhaps this was Cronenberg’s intention. Sarah Gadon, who plays his wife (with whom his marriage has yet to be consummated) acts the same way, as does Samantha Morton in her one scene. Their performances are contrasted by those of Juliette Binoche, as his art-dealer/mistress, with whom he engages in some vigorous limo sex, and Paul Giamatti- with the whole last half hour of the film being a one-on-one dialogue between the cold R-Pat, and the fiery Giamatti.


One thing that’s important to note is that the early trailers have really misrepresented COSMOPOLIS. Anyone who thought this looked like a return to body-horror for Cronenberg will no doubt be disappointed, as this is pretty much all talk, talk, talk. As is Cronenberg’s custom, there are brief flashes of unexpected violence, as well as a truly strange scene where Pattinson flirts with an employee while getting a prostate exam (which I sure, will totally mess with Twi-hards).

But- as I prefaced this review, I’m certain that some folks will love this, particularly if you’re a hardcore Cronenberg, or DeLillo devotee. Granted, the subject matter is extremely relevant (the riots in the film couldn't help but remind me of Toronto's G8 riots, or Montreal's ongoing student strike). Maybe in a few years I’ll revisit this, but for now, I have to chalk this one up as a big let-down.

Extra Tidbit: This is supposed to be set in NYC, but it's clearly Toronto.
Source: JoBlo.com

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