Today: April 19, 2024

Cosmopolis DVD

Cosmopolis is a hard film to like. It contains very little plot. Its characters are hard to associate with and ultimately feel completely alien.

Cosmopolis is a hard film to like. It contains
very little plot. Its characters are hard to associate with and ultimately feel
completely alien.
Their dialogue goes off on tangents,
contributing very little to the overall story. It is slow, pretentious,
egotistical and confusing. However these aren’t attributes that detriment the
film, they actually propel it into a stratosphere of filmmaking that is unlike
anything that we have seen recently. You see Cosmopolis is less of a film, it
is more of a challenge.

Robert Pattinson stars as enigmatic billionaire Eric Packer, who we follow around
New York in his personal limousine as he attempts to get a haircut. But he won’t
just have any haircut at a regular salon. He has to go all the way across the
city to visit the same barbers he did when he was a child, in perhaps an
attempt to rekindle some element of forgotten youth. Yet traffic is slow for
various reasons making his journey laborious to say the least. During the drive
he interacts with a number of individuals and witnesses a series of life
changing events. He gets a prostate exam whilst talking to an employee about
the latest economic scandal. A parade for a rappers funeral passes by his
car. Rioters take over Time
Square. A few people die and Packer has sex with a few others. This isn’t your
average road movie; it can feel like a science fiction film at time. But like
all good road movies it is a journey about self-discovery.

Cosmopolis is based on a
novel by cult author Don DeLillo. His style is very philosophical and
the dialogue within his books can seem alien. Every single sentence seems to be
being analysed by the characters, therefore the dialogue is often broken, going
off on complete tangents. This is
reminiscent of all of DeLillo’s work, making it very hard to consider how a
film would be made about one of his books. So it should come as no surprise
that Cosmopolis is the first adaptation of any of his stories. Despite the
problematic nature of DeLillo’s work, David Cronenberg has remained
faithful to the original material and added a visual flair to go alongside this
mostly spoken film.

When you are presented with
a film that is heavy on dialogue, you need a good script. Many will struggle
with Cosmopolis because of its never ending stream of questions and
philosophies about the world. Yet if you take time to listen, and contemplate what
the film is saying, it is absolutely riveting. Critiques on money, society,
war, technology, celebrity, time, life, death and sex are all here. Overall
this is fairly bleak and unsympathetic. Some of these exchanges don’t quite
work, leaving you scratching your head. However the more involved ones are
truly stimulating, causing you to question these things on a much grander scale
than a film ever could. It has an existential quality to it that is similar to
the films of Ingmar Bergman and if the great Swede was still alive today
you could hazard a guess he would be trying to make films like this.

Prior to this release,
Robert Pattinson stated that he wanted to shun the teen movie icon he has been
labeled. With this performance he may have discontinued that notion very quickly.
Pattinson is stunning as Packer. A cold, mysterious lizard of a man who sulks
around his limo like a disappointed child on Christmas day. Constantly
contemplating his very existence, Packer’s perception of the outside world
begins to alter dramatically during the film. Initially the outside looks like
an artificial backdrop with no soul or character but towards the conclusion it
becomes much more physical and begins to adopt its own personality as Packer’s
situation changes. This is one of the most interesting things the film does.
Packer, because of his position in society, seems incapable of acting like a
real person. By having these long-winded conversations about everyone and
everything, Packer is trying to find out more about himself. All the other
characters that he meets seem uncomfortable around him because of this. As the
film progresses though he, like his world around him, becomes more human and
the conversations resonate more clearly. Pattinson may lose a lot of fans due
to his cold and unloving take on Packer but he wont be disheartened by that. In
fact his talents may just have been opened to a whole new crowd.

Upon it’s cinematic
release, Cosmopolis had mixed reviews. Complete adulation was followed by
derision and confusion. This isn’t a film that should be enjoyed. It should be
viewed as an essay or study on the modern day environment. The appreciation of
Cosmopolis is heightened after reading the book as you get a better feel for
it’s outlook and philosophies, preventing you from coming into this completely
blind (even if you do this, don’t expect to be singing and dancing after you
see it). Cronenberg’s transition
into a more prestige type of filmmaking was suspect in A Dangerous Method,
but Cosmopolis is a much grander and engaging achievement.

Alongside
this year’s other surreal limo movie, Holy Motors, we are witnessing a
new type of filmmaking that is so fresh and new that we can’t even comprehend
it just quite yet. New techniques are constantly being developed, so combining
these with prevalent issues is a beguiling but troublesome exploration. DeLillo and Cronenberg don’t want to be prophets. But in this age
of Hollywood remakes and super hero movies, why not praise a film for being
daring and original. If this proves to be the future of film, then what greater
prophecy could there be than that?

Previous Story

Horror's Show Or Tell

Next Story

Excision

Latest from Blog

Memory

Memory (2023)

Memory is an exquisite American drama in the tender embrace of Michel Franco’s cinematic prowess.

Kind Hearts & Coronets

75 years after its release, StudioCanal’s crisp and bright 4K UHD restoration makes the prefect gift to mark the film’s Anniversary and the lasting legacy of the Ealing Comedy. Kind Hearts &

The Lavender Hill Mob

There are restorations … and then there are restorations … And, when it comes to 4K, StudioCanal are amongst the very best in the business. So, it should be no surprise that

Jack Ryan Complete Series Unboxing

The casting of John Krasinski – The Office’s Jim Halpert – as CIA analyst-turned-hero Jack Ryan certainly came as a surprise to those who were only familiar with Dunder Mifflin’s sarcastic, floppy-haired

Peter Doherty: Stranger in My Own Skin

Infamous Libertines and Babyshambles frontman Pete Doherty – uncommonly going by ‘Peter’ in this film’s title – has had a turbulent career and personal life that seldom saw him far from the
Go toTop