Another great review of the film, this one by Niall Morrissey of Film 365.
David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis follows a 28 year old billionaire as he attempts to make his way across New York city for a haircut.
Cronenberg’s latest is a stylistic indictment on the idiocy of 21st century capitalism. Cosmopolis is an attempt to redefine the city space as it is known in cinema. Yes this is New York City, but not The New York City. Much like Scorcese’s Mean Streets and Taxi Driver redefined the cinematic iconography of the city in the 80s, depicting an off-centre and filth-ridden New York, Cosmopolis brings NYC into the cyber age.
This is a film that lives entirely in a undefined space; an almost virtual cyber space. The passing images seen through the windows of Packer’s limousine look like adverts shot in high definition. Through the windows we see the city in a sepia tone, bleached. Packer’s bodyguard Torval delivers his lines in an almost computerized fashion. The narrative echoes the style of a computer game. The protagonist aims to get from point A to point B while meeting a host of characters along the way. Even the inside of Packer’s limo is gadget laden, he watches figures whizz by as his funds rapidly dwindle while the day progresses.
But this is a film that exists almost entirely within. Cosmopolis represents the interior. We spend large periods of the piece watching Packer hold court from his leather coated throne within his limo. He is a modern king, a young billionaire with the world at his fingertips. Like any king he has his protectors, advisers, subjects and mistresses. But he also has his enemies.
Patinson puts in a career-best performance as Eric Packer. He is well supported by Juliette Binoche as his Mistress Didi Fancher, Sarah Gadon as his aloof wife Elise Shifrin, Kevin Durand as his bodyguard Torval. Mathieu Amalric gives a fantastic cameo as pie-throwing anarchist Andre Petrescu, however, Paul Giamatti swoops in late and steals the show with an energetic performance of pure character acting as Benno Levin. This you need to see for yourself. Samantha Morton delivers in a brilliantly played out scene on ‘the theory of money’ while an anti-capitalist riot rages outside of Packer’s protective cocoon.
Cosmopolis is a slow, reflective film which places ideas to the fore. The characters speak in a language we don’t quite understand. This language is poetic, even hypnotic; one we might associate with names like Beckett and Ionesco. We are seduced by Packer’s self-destruction, his spiral out of the control which he exhibits in early scenes.
Cosmopolis is more of an idea than a film, maybe there are too many ideas fighting for breath. Cronenberg brings his audience on a nihilistic romp through an undefined space. Money becomes mere digits on a screen, images of rats are seared into our brain and blood flows. Cosmopolis is intense, brooding, reflective and mesmerising. A must-see.
Love the sections I have highlighted – couldn’t agree more.