Movie Review: Cosmopolis (2012)

Alfama Films
Runtime: 1 hour, 49 minutes
Rated: R (for strong sexual content, including graphic nudity,
and language and violence)
Director: David Cronenberg
Writers: David Cronenberg, Don DeLillo
Starring: Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche, Sarah Gadon

David Cronenberg (the genius who gave us 1988’s Dead Ringers) brings us Cosmopolis, a novel-based film which takes place in a future earth society where the currency in demand is rats and a wealthy 28-year-old economic powerhouse “Eric Packer” (Robert Pattinson) is a hated figure of privilege in the eyes of the populace, but one who struggles to find meaning within himself on the way to get across Manhattan for a haircut.

This is one of the year’s “wtf?” films, and honestly, there aren’t words to describe it. While it may be good to see Pattinson outside of Twilight and in settings where his true acting skills can stretch their legs, Cosmopolis is completely off the radar in terms of the way it tries to accomplish its goal.

When its characters are not eating, drinking, having sex and/or commenting on each other’s scents, sharing figures, getting hair cuts, introspecting, tasing each other, or shooting at each other, they’re trying to get into each other’s heads in a way that is so skewed and nebulous that just by listening to the dialog, you knew Cronenberg had to have a hand in this.

While we want to say how pitiful it is that so much work went into this monstrosity, we have to take a moment to ask: Are we all just too dense to get it? Who’s to say? We’ll never know. But what we do know is that the delirium created from the viewing experience makes the film both semi-nauseating and memorable in a most incredible Cronenberg-ian way.

Is this a valid re-creation of the future? Well, it’s artsy enough to be, and such great care has been taken to perfect the performances in each and every scene that by the film’s end, we wished we could have appreciated more of a film that comes from an unquestionably great filmmaker. And indeed, there is not a single wanting performance to be found anywhere here.

With serious commentary on the economy and capitalism, but in a story that cherishes its departures from reality, there won’t be many who will relate to this film, as it can neither succeed, nor fail in its present form.