Canada has a rich history in film. We’ve had a number of great actors, writers and directors and one of those names on that list has to be David Cronenberg.
He made some of the most interesting science fiction films of the 80s with the Fly, Scanners, Videodrome and the Dead Zone. However, over the years he’s moved away from the genre and worked on other projects.
Last year he returned to the sci fi genre and released Cosmopolis.
Cosmopolis is the story of a currency speculator named Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson) in near future New York. Packer owns a very successful company that he built from the ground up, however in doing this he’s become bored.
He doesn’t see the challenge in life, like he once did. Even to the point of not really caring when his business gets into trouble.
During the movie Packer, along with his security detail, try to get across town so he can get a hair cut. They’re stopped however, by large protests, the President of the United States Convoy and the funeral of a rapper(K’naan).
Over the course of the film we’re introduced to many of Packer’s employee’s, such as Shiner (Jay Baruchel), his chief of theory (Samantha Morton) and his art consultant (Juleitte Binoche).
All of these characters have one thing in common; they’re all extremely boring.
No one in this movie, with the exception of one character played by Paul Giamatti, have any energy. They all just talk in a monotone voice as they drown on about future things that the movie doesn’t really take the time to explain.
In this future the rich have seem to become cold to the point of having no emotions.
Packer, along with most of the characters, have no real redeeming qualities. Packer is to the point where his new wife (Sarah Gadon) has no real interest in even talking to him.
However, this best demonstrates the point of the story.
Quickly we see that the general public doesn’t act the same way. In fact, there so tired of being oppressed that they’re beginning to hold massive protests that entail (pardon the pun) throwing rats at people.
The movie and the book it’s based upon, try to examine what the world could look like in a few years. We’re becoming so tuned out of reality that we’re almost becoming empty shells looking for the next thing to excite ourselves.
While the idea is very interesting, it isn’t followed through upon that well over the course of the film.
Most of the movie takes place in Packer’s limo, with people more or less just showing up off camera and saying things that aren’t really explained. This doesn’t help the movies flow.
The film feels more like a stage play that just happened to be filmed as characters just show up and give confusing 5-10 (sometimes 20) minute speeches and leave without really explaining what they were talking about.
Sure some of it is understandable and interesting but a great deal of it feels like the scene at the end of Matrix Reload were the Architect “explains” the plot.
That being said, this movie does have some good performances. Pattinson plays the cold empty character quite well and the scene that he spends with Giamatti is great and features some good acting and great pacing.
The set’s are nice are and the direction is at times very interesting as Cronenberg just sets-up the camera and lets the actors do their thing, moving throughout the frame.
The movie has these interesting moments that don’t really come together that well over the course of the films 108-minute run-time.
I find it difficult to recommend Cosmopolis. While there are some fascinating themes and ideas, it’s surrounded with long boring conversations about taxis and where the limos go after hours (was that supposed to be a Catcher in the Rye reference? If so why?).
If you’re looking for something to watch to come down from a Twilight high, then maybe you’ll enjoy this, but if you’re just the average film fan just re-watch the Dead Zone.
Cosmopolis was produced by Alfama Films, Kinology, Prospero Picture and Toronto Antenna. Distribution was handled by eOne Films. The film was based upon a novel by Don DeLillo.