Where do I start with Cosmopolis, the new David Cronenberg film starring Robert Pattinson? I believe the word “crazy” is quite apt. But isn’t that what we all expect from Cronenberg? Sure, his last film, A Dangerous Method, was a critical miss and tamer than his usual fare. Many were hesitant about his decision to cast Pattinson as the lead. When the Cosmopolis trailer debuted earlier this year, film lovers were more than welcoming this “return to form” from Cronenberg and taking Mr. Pattinson a bit more seriously. After finally seeing the film, I can say:
- Yes, it’s a return to form for David Cronenberg, and it’s totally welcomed.
- Robert Pattinson is more than a sparkly vampire.
Cosmopolis follows Eric Packer, this uber-successful Wall Street whiz kid, as he makes his way across town to get a haircut in his limo. What seems like a simple task turns into a bizarre odyssey. The President is in town, causing terrible traffic throughout Manhattan, and threats have been made against Eric. Despite his security head’s (Kevin Durand) protests, Eric insists that he wants to get his haircut. Throughout the ride, Eric’s different advisors come in and out of his limousine, revealing tidbits about the situation at hand. Eric also briefly leaves his limo when he spots his wife (Sarah Gadon) outside.
I’ll be quite honest and admit that much of the dialogue went over my head in the beginning. I’m somewhat well-versed when it comes to economy talk, but I couldn’t completely grasp what was being said and its implications. Therefore, for most of the first half of Cosmopolis, I was confused. Finally, the story began to clarify at the midway point, when Packer meets with Samantha Morton’s character. And it gets interesting, as Morton’s character theorizes and explains all the craziness that is happening around them. From that point, Packer’s downward spiral steepens. That’s when the insanity you expect from a Cronenberg comes into play. This is when Robert Pattinson really begins to prove himself as an actor. This is undoubtedly his best work to date.
The best and most arresting scene of the film is the final one when Packer and Paul Giamatti’s character face off. Pattinson had great moments with Samatha Morton, Juliette Binoche, Jay Baruchel and definitely Sarah Gadon. But put Pattinson and Giamatti in a room, and you’ve got some crazy sparks flying. I don’t want to overelaborate, since spoilers aren’t fun. Nonetheless, this writing and acting in the ending scene elevated Cosmopolis from “good” to “great.”
It’s important to point out how relevant the film is to our current economic times. One big idea explored is the relatively new merger of capitalism and technology. Packer’s limo is souped-up with the latest technology. He could make millions of dollars just chilling out in his limo. He’s so immersed with technology that it’s hard for him to be human, which is part of why he becomes obsessed with trying to humanize himself. Who goes through all that trouble to get a haircut across town?
Cosmopolis made me think, which something I always appreciate coming from a film. It’s not for everyone though. If you love Cronenberg and his work, it’s a must-see. If you’re interested and/or knowledgeable when it comes to the economy, this movie is right up your alley. Yeah, it’s a bizarre joy ride and a very smart one at that.
Rating: 7.5/10 ★★★★★★★☆
Cosmopolis is now playing in select theaters. Click here to see where if it’s playing in your city.