¨There's a poem I read in which a rat becomes the unit of currency.¨
Oh David Cronenberg what have thy done? Despite making some great films in the last few years (such as A History of Violence and Eastern Promises) Cronenberg has directed what is in my opinion the worst film of 2012. Cosmopolis is 100 minutes of complete torture, I did not enjoy the experience one bit and was hoping the pace of the film would pick up or that there would be some cool pay off at the end, but neither of those things happened. I can honestly tell you that I considered walking out on this film so many times, but for some reason I decided to stay with it. This is a film I will not be revisiting ever, although I know that in order to understand it completely several viewings need to take place because it is based on a philosophical novel written by Don DeLillo that is hard to follow. The film is very slow paced as you follow the main character for almost the entire film inside his limo talking to several different characters that jump in and out of his vehicle. The dialogues are really profound and pretentious as everything they are talking about serves as a sort of metaphor or symbolism on capitalism. If to understand the dialogues in the novel you need to read them over and over again, imagine how much more difficult it is to understand everything that Cronenberg is trying to throw at you in these dialogues where you can´t pause and go back to make sure you listened and interpreted things correctly. The entire film seems to be anti-capitalistic or at least a form of protest against cyber-capitalism and economics in general. The movie does seem to share some parallels with the Occupy Wall Street movement that took place. I don´t see how anyone other than those people who have read the novel will understand everything that is going on here. I am not even sure if Cronenberg understood everything that DeLillo was really trying to say in the novel, or if he simply had a different interpretation of things. The film is heavily pretentious and it was just a torturous experience for me, which is too bad because I really enjoyed some of his previous work (especially his films with Viggo Mortensen).
The film centers on Erick Packer (Robert Pattinson) a young billionaire living in Manhattan who decides to get on his limo and drive across town to get a haircut. Despite being warned by his security official, Torval (Kevin Durand), that the President is in the city and that the streets are completely jammed by traffic and protestors, he insists on taking the limo and getting his haircut. Therefore he spends almost the entire day in his limo, only getting off sporadically to grab a bite to eat or talk to his wife, Elise (Sarah Gadon) whom he encounters on several occasions during the day. While he is in the limo he´s always talking to someone who he happens to come across, some who work for him and seem to be his advisors, while others some sort of acquaintance like Didi (Juliette Binoche). He even has a doctor get in the limo and do his daily routine medical checkup (including a prostate exam) on him while talking economics with a colleague. Erick encounters all sorts of people and even an angry mob that is protesting in the streets (reminiscent to the Occupy Wall Street movement), but it is something he´s willing to do in order to get his haircut. Torval even mentions to him that someone is threatening his life, but Erick continues to move on. The entire drama plays out as a sort of metaphor on economics and capitalism, but the dialogues are really hard to follow as there are so many symbolisms and metaphors which I found very heavy handed and philosophical.
Near the end of the film there is a heavy dialogue scene between Pattinson´s character and Paul Giamatti´s that I was hoping would pay off for all the effort I put into it by sticking with it, but not even the dependable Paul Giamatti saved this film. I know some people liked this film, and I’m guessing because they probably had read the novel or are into all these philosophical and economical debates that Cronenberg is trying to raise, but I really had a hard time understanding everything that was going on. I wasn’t a big fan of Cronenberg´s latest film, A Dangerous Method, but that film is a masterpiece compared with Cosmopolis. I really disliked this movie and wasn’t entertained with any of the characters or the dialogues they were having. I couldn’t connect with this film in the same way other people who enjoyed this might have. I would much rather see Pattinson in Twilight again than watch this film; that is how much I hated this film. I hope Cronenberg returns to his A History of Violence days instead of making these pretentious philosophical movies that seem not to answer any questions in particular. Or maybe I just didn’t get it, but I am not willing to sit through a second viewing of this film and wouldn’t recommend it to anyone either.