Movie Review: COSMOPOLIS
Published: August 16, 2012 - 1:37pm
Watching Cosmopolis felt like eating a pasta dish where everything tasted sour except for one stellar ingredient. But that one ingredient doesn't make the dish eatable. At first glance I would say Robert Pattinson is fantastic in his role, but that could also only be because he was surrounded by palpable mediocrity. It dragged on and never really finds it's footing story wise. Its frantic cinematography and noncommittal use of satire only make the lack of focus on exposition more obvious. The fastest thing to make me lose interest in a film besides overuse of unnecessary CG is when the only thing it has going for it are interesting characters. That's basically what happened here.
Director David Cronenberg is a master at making you simultaneously enchanted and unquestionably uncomfortable as he deconstructs his characters before your eyes. Here the specimen is Eric Packer, a twenty-something self made billionaire played by Pattinson. Packer is a numbers wizard who has alienated himself from the world by spending the majority of his day inside of a limousine. But it's not a run of the mill rental. This ride is outfitted with the latest satellite uplinks to monitor worldwide financial trading, bullet resistant glass and plating, a richly expensive bar and even smoked, wraparound transition windows. Packer feels safe here, in control, and it shows whenever anyone visits him be it for business or pleasure.
As the story progresses we're introduced (albeit briefly) to the people who impact his life including his childhood friend/colleague, his doctor, a woman he's sleeping with and a man who is trying to kill him. Most importantly we meet the head of his personal security detail and his new trophy wife. Throughout the course of one day in Manhattan, Packer begins to shed his desire for order. He makes reckless deals that cost him his fortune, has torrid sexual encounters, purposefully puts his security team in danger and proceeds to willingly embrace random acts of chaos.
Unfortunately I just couldn't care less about these characters. With few exceptions I didn't care why anything was happening in this story. Every event from rudimentary to the shocking ones played out with no necessity, no driving purpose that moved the narrative ahead. For close to two hours I was fairly bored and very uninterested in the eventual fate of these people. And that's a shame because the performances were wonderful. Pattinson's facial expressions tell just as much about his disillusioned character as his dialogue does, while Kevin Durant, Paul Giamatti and Juliette Binoche offer exactly what you expect from them.
The most redeeming characteristic about this production is the filming that takes place inside the limo. The majority of the film is seen from a passenger's point of view from within the bubble of the limo. I found this aspect to be by far the most engaging and memorable, but it doesn't forgive the fact that the story being told here isn't as interesting as its contemporary setting.
Cosmopolis is helmed by director David Cronenberg (A History of Violence) and stars Robert Pattinson, Kevin Durand, Samantha Morton, Juliette Binoche, Paul Giamatti and Sarah Gadon. The film is an adaptation of the 2003 novel by Don Delillo and will be released in the US on August 17th, 2012.
New York City, not-too-distant-future: Eric Packer, a 28 year-old finance golden boy dreaming of living in a civilization ahead of this one, watches a dark shadow cast over the firmament of the Wall Street galaxy, of which he is the uncontested king. As he is chauffeured across midtown Manhattan to get a haircut at his father's old barber, his anxious eyes are glued to the yuan's exchange rate: it is mounting against all expectations, destroying Eric's bet against it. Eric Packer is losing his empire with every tick of the clock. Meanwhile, an eruption of wild activity unfolds in the city's streets. Petrified as the threats of the real world infringe upon his cloud of virtual convictions, his paranoia intensifies during the course of his 24-hour cross-town odyssey. Packer starts to piece together clues that lead him to a most terrifying secret: his imminent assassination.