Posts Tagged ‘David Cronenberg’

*** out of *****

What to make of Cosmopolis, this flavorless layer cake of a movie? Here’s a film that robs us of cinema’s simplest pleasures: escapism, emotionalism, identifiable characters, narrative pull. And it does so, very much, on purpose. Like the financial guru at its center, Cosmopolis lives in the abstract. It’s a relentless blast of ideas, devoid of the meaty goodness that makes human stories stick to our ribs. It seeks to distance us from the characters and actions on screen. And it succeeds.¬†Good for it.

It’s hard to love a film so alienating and artificial. But there’s no end to how much you can admire its radical experimentation.

Unfolding over a single, fretful day, Cosmopolis follows a billionaire financier (Robert Pattinson) as he rides across Manhattan in a sound-proof limo. Pattinson holds a series of meetings in his souped-up habitat; he forces those in his insular world — coworkers, lovers, doctors — to come to him. Pattinson has made a colossal gamble on the yuan, one that drains him of billions as the day progresses. He tries to convince an art dealer (Juliette Binoche) to sell him the entire Rothko Chapel, discusses the markets and human behavior with his “chief of theory” (Samantha Morton), has a sex-charged exchange with his finance director (Emily Hampshire) while undergoing an endless prostate exam, and, all the while, forces his security team to drive through hours of traffic to his favorite barbershop.

A lot flies around the periphery of Cosmopolis, but given Pattinson’s willful seclusion, his headlong dive into the world of currency exchanges, we only catch it in scraps. Protestors have overtaken Manhattan, hurling dead rats in spectacular displays against income inequality. Someone has made a credible threat on Pattinson’s life. Manhattan stands still to honor a deceased Somali rapper (K’naan). This Waiting for Godot-like non-story cascades into a tremendous final showdown between Pattinson and a downright feral Paul Giamatti, a former employee. (more…)


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