GORE ON THE SCREEN
REVIEWS BY FANS FOR FANS
5 STAR FAB - 1 STAR RUBBISH
cosmopolis - ***
This is the slim plot of the latest film from auteur David Cronenberg (adapting a novel by Don DeLillo). COSMOPOLIS is an even more talky film than A DANGEROUS METHOD, although it rarely seems that the characters are actually listening to one another. There is a great scene with Samantha Morton as some sort of post-post-something-or-other financial theorist, wittering on about markets but constantly stopping to say disconcertingly: “But I know nothing about this.” Meanwhile Packer drinks vodka and anti-capitalist rioters spraypaint the outside of the limo.
DeLillo published the novel in 2003, and it was not well received. However as visualised by Cronenberg is seems eerily and chillingly prescient. As we are now fully in the grip of a global financial meltdown, in part largely caused by characters like Packer creating an illusory bubble of wealth that has spectacularly burst. His journey takes place against a backdrop of anti-capitalist protests that are treated with no less withering a gaze. Mathieu Almaric appears as a protestor to represent the common man, but rather than engage in any meaningful way, he throws a custard pie at Packer (a nice echo of Murdoch’s appearance before the the House of Commons' Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee).
Robert Pattison is excellent in a role quite different from anything the TWILIGHT star as attempted to date. If this is a conscious attempt to move away from undead Edward Cullen, he couldn’t have chosen a better project (although we can only dream about what a Cronenberg-directed BREAKING DAWN would have been like). Pattison is in every scene, with all the other performers merely dropping into his story. Cronenberg has gathered a great supporting cast that includes, in addition to Morten and Almaric, Juliette Binoche, Jay Baruchel, and a brilliantly-deranged Paul Giamatti.
This is a cold, detached and slightly antiseptic film. It is provocative and full of ideas, but it seems to skate along the surface without penetrating deeply and offering real insight. This is disappointing from David Cronenberg, whom I consider to be one of the great artists working in film. However I suspect I shall be revisiting this awkward, chilly, difficult movie again soon and may find that it has depths only revealed on repeat viewings.