Here’s a great review of Cosmopolis by ‘celluloid junkie‘
Cosmopolis is the 2012 sci-fi drama directed by David Cronenberg starring Robert Pattinson as Eric Packer, Paul Giamatti as Benno, Juliette Binoche as Didi, Samantha Morton as Vija, and Sarah Gadon as Eric’s wife, Elise.
Love him or hate him, and I’m sure there’s a fair amount that could go either way, Robert Pattinson is here to stay.
Pattinson’s performance in Cosmopolis is near-perfect. That is to say – this film adaptation of the novel of the same name by Don DeLillo is strangely literal. Not all written dialogue sounds as good when spoken aloud as it does in your head. With Cosmopolis, if you ever do adjust to the cadence and language of its cast of characters, you may have already given up on the plot. People seem to have confused this oddness with Pattinson’s (et al) ability to act.
This is a mistake.
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Here are some great Cosmopolis reviews by The Cult Den, Filmblerg and Static Mass Emporium
From The Cult Den
‘Cosmopolis’ proves to be an outstanding and unflinching depiction of the current climate. The character of Eric Packer almost serves as a modern day martyr. His overwhelming sense of isolation from the real world or the growing disillusionment that comes with being wealthy, he seems relentless in his pursuit to reject any association with such a fatally mundane lifestyle.
In a real game changing role, Pattinson delivers his most accomplished and assured performance to date. Anchoring the film with meticulous poise and charisma, his thoroughly engaging protagonist here may finally put the doubters to rest in regards his acting abilities.
Cronenberg certainly hasn’t opted for the ‘hack and slash’ approach here either in his interpretation of Delillo’s work. The tongue twisting lengthy segments of dialogue literally torn from the pages are daringly faithful. The uninitiated perhaps will be left dumbfounded by the bamboozling of such intelligent jargon, others will find it refreshing and mesmerising. Whilst his directorial style remains intimate and precise, he certainly doesn’t shy away from the visual metaphors either. A particular highlight involving Pattinson facing up to Paul Giamatti’s antagonist Benno Levin, framed exquisitely within a wide angle shot emphasising the ever growing class divide between the rich and a disgruntled working class.
Overwhelming in its deconstruction of so many subject matters, it’s certainly too unusual and talky for the mainstream. For the more open-minded among us however, ‘Cosmopolis’ is an engrossing piece of cinema saturated in social resonance and intellect that deserves its intricacies to be deciphered.
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From Static Mass Emporium
The very best films, the ones we tend to really love, inspire a blend of enjoyment and admiration. We feel the thrills of the plot whilst enjoying the acting, or the camerawork. In addition to this we’re often able to relate to the core values of the piece; extrapolating, correctly or not, the filmmaker’s themes and objectives. Their point. On occasion, however, a film’s creditsroll up the screen and we find ourselves confounded by something that was utterly engrossing, but at the same time, bewildering. And so to Cosmopolis.
Fully embracing the style of the source material, Cosmopolis is an utterly distancing and at times, plain weird affair. Whether this is in its sharp visuals, its stilted and strange dialogue delivery, its vignette structure, its purposely unrealistic CGI or its obscured meanings, we’re not being pulled in but forced away. This really struck me throughout both viewings and is, I think, central to setting up the character of Eric Packer right from the start.
Disguised behind his dark glasses, and spouting esoteric pseudo-intellectual philosophy, Robert Pattinson is magnetic as the young billionaire (much to my surprise). As he spends his day in the car, we’re shown a portrait of a man that’s distanced himself from reality. He inhabits a plain of existence where people don’t behave like those others on the street and as such represents the very likely disconnect between the 1% and the real world. Where we normally empathise with a protagonist because we understand what they feel, here Cronenberg wants the opposite; he’s trying to engender in us Eric’s sense of not feeling. We’re not necessarily supposed to get what he’s talking about when he asks questions like “But what happens to all the stretch limousines that prowl the throbbing city all day long? Where do they spend the night?”
There’s doubtless an awful lot more than can be said about Cosmopolis (even in this piece of mentioned things I’ve not been able to explore further), and I’m sure that there are myriad other, equally interesting readings of what it’s all about. All I know is that whilst it’s by no means prefect, it’s utterly spellbinding and I’m thoroughly looking forward to reading DeLillo’s book. Once that’s done, I can have another, more informed, crack at Cronenberg’s beguiling film and see if I can’t take even more meaning from it.
The revolt against Packer manifests in three forms. The first is a semi-violent protest of countless anarchists with a rat idol but, although replete with suicide, it is unable to penetrate his limousine. The second is that of art, in a bizarre scene of humiliation by a renegade pastry chef. It is a more memorable effort but the vandal’s desperate need to preserve and reproduce his one idea is unimpressive. Finally, there is the threat of assassination by an individual (Paul Giamatti) but it is merely the last cry of the lonely vengeful psychopath who wants nothing but to be noticed, his name remembered – but we never knew his name in the first place.
David Cronenberg has not independently authored a screenplay since Crash, and here with Cosmopolis, he retires the same theology of man and machine that he has so uniquely made his life’s work. Few directors could ever claim such transcendence. In Crash, previously the peak of Cronenberg’s artistic machinations, his characters are sustained by a sexual energy that can be harnessed through involvement in car accidents. Packer, however, is unmoved by the extremes of physical or sexual experience. He is unable to experience – as all knowledge is secondhand – his (our) world is devoid of new feeling or original thought.
Cosmopolis is revolutionary, even if it implies the futility of revolution. Capitalism is referred to as a “spectre” as it cannot be admonished with the reprimand of its benefactors. The phrase “a spectre haunts this world, the spectre of capitalism” is, in itself, a projection but it suggests something less ephemeral; it is that which can be digitised, mobilised, and gentrified – it is actually man’s artifice of eternity. Although promoted as an odyssey of war, violence and sex, the film’s terror is in its inactivity, it’s unresponsive, unflinching inertness. It is surely 2012’s apocalyptic masterpiece.
Don’t forget to pre-order Cosmopolis on DVD or Blu-Ray
Say what you will about the Twilight series but you can’t lay the blame at the feet of Robert Pattinson who is just playing an iconic character written to appeal to young teenage girls. Common opinion seems to be that once the series is over, Pattinson is pretty much done. His work in Cosmopolis proves that he is actually the real deal, Pattinson is in every scene and carries the film with ease having to cope with heavy dialogue in scenes that seem to favour a really long take. His portrayal of the character is flawless, a world of pain in his eyes always simmering below the surface of his controlled and manicured exterior. Due to the film mostly taking place in a limousine, Cosmopolis does at times feel less like a film and more like a stage production and Cronenberg favouring the aforementioned long takes doesn’t help matters much. When you have actors of the calibre of Juliet Binoche, Paul Giamatti and Samantha Morton popping up in pivotal moments to deliver the weird, wonderful dialogue of Don DeLillo though, then much of it is just a pleasure to watch.
Cosmopolis is perhaps the most un-commercial film released this year but somehow starring everyone’s favourite pin-up. It’s also one of the most rewarding experiences this year if you have the ear and patience for it and a timely film about the fragility of our world and the people who control it.
Read more of this great review here
Casual murder. Prostate exams. Riots. What a ride. Literally.
Eric Packer is a 28 year old multi-billionaire asset manager. He lives in Manhattan.
We join him on what will become a particularly eventful day in his life.
When he woke up, he didn’t know what he wanted. Then he knew. He wanted a haircut.
As his stretch limousine moves across town, his world begins to fall apart. But more worryingly than the loss of his fortune is the realization that his life may be under threat.
“I’m a world citizen with a New York set of balls.”
Abstract and complicated, it’s certainly not my usual flavour of book. So why read it? Duh. Robert Pattinson. He stars in the movie adaptation, which is out on DVD and Blu-Ray today in the UK! Yay! (Links below)
Packer/Rob is a ruthless, self-absorbed, detached control-freak who goes from wall street money-making hero to zero in less than a day, all the while looking over his shoulder waiting for the threats on his life to materialize.. and trying to get a damn haircut.
Faced with these life-shattering losses and his own mortality, he finds himself going to the edge, looking for a rush, a thrill, something that justifies living.
“It makes me feel free in a way I’ve never known”
It’s only when he spirals downward that you begin to see a vulnerable, broken side to him. And he’s funny, too. I wouldn’t say you start to actually like him.. but you’re interested. You’re invested.
The dialogue is intense, kind of fascinating, and hard to follow at times, so sit up and pay attention! I’d be lying if I said I understood it all.
Its a highly visual story which is probably why most people I’ve seen discussing it agree it’s ripe for film. It’s action filled, provocative, and full of crazy characters and bizarre situations. Having now seen the film, I can tell you that reading it will give you some insight in what to expect as it’s not your typical Hollywood offering. Don’t take this story at face value because the deeper you look, the more interesting it becomes.
If that doesn’t convince you to check it out, maybe Rob will: “I never read anything as interesting for years.“
Thanks to ThinkJam for providing a copy of this book. Cosmopolis is out on DVD today in the UK. Buy in store or order below.
Amazon: Film Tie-In Book | Kindle Film Tie-In Book | Cosmopolis DVD | Cosmopolis Blu-Ray
Love Film | HMV DVD | HMV Blu-Ray
In the very near future of the cinematic present, a young billionaire named Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson) decides one morning that he’s going to climb into his limousine and head across Manhattan to go to the barber he insists on visiting. The city is mobbed, however, by traffic jams from the visiting President and a celebrity funeral, and the limo crawls slowly through the city over the course of a day as Packer pulls various employees and business partners into his isolated oasis as he inches his way across an increasingly desolate city in the face of a global economic crisis that mirrors his own deteriorating mindset.
That is actually as succinct a summary of David Cronenberg’s newest film,Cosmopolis, as you could ever hope to ask for. Based on a novel by the same name by Don DeLillo, Cronenberg once again delves into the inner psyche of a troubled character in a challenging drama that manages on the surface to appear intimate and small, but reveals that underneath it all lie deep waters. Like his recent masterpieces, A History of Violence and Eastern Promises,Cosmopolis is as mature and considered a drama as one could ask for. That, however, is where the similarities end, and where this review strikes out from the concrete into the strange territory of this nightmare road trip.
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From James’s Film Reviews:
But the film really belongs to Robert Pattinson in the central and very difficult role as the, initially at least, extremely unsympathetic role as Eric, driven by a purely superficial, almost megalomaniac sense of greed.
Pattinson’s teen-vampire Twilight days are far behind him. This is a simply a brilliantly nuanced performance, his mesmeric features the epitome of poise, as Eric’s self-assurance erodes away his soul. Surely he’s in win a chance for a nominee for Best Actor in February? Sinewy, measured, calculating and colder than the Arctic Circle, it’s an achievement that Pattinson encompasses all this, while not making him any less captivating at the same time.
There’s really not much to criticize about this experience. What could have so easily been a risky, languid leaden-heavy film, just by its very nature, is, instead both a gripping visual metaphor for our time, and a master-class in artistic prowess. All the flare which is now a customary expectation from Cronenberg is present in an abundance of originality – whether it’s the low-level sterility of the cinematography, or the telling gaps in between dialogue, which often tell the audience more than the characters do.
What makes this truly exceptional however, is the unique quality its premise possesses. I can’t think of a film drama, which executes the form of setting itself almost exclusively in one location, quite so well. Roman Polanski’s brilliant Carnage managed it to acidic comic effect, but the dynamics of that firework-ensemble are entirely differently handled, compared to this, periodically put together concept, whereby different characters enter and exit the limousine in turns. I admire greatly the theatricality which that both demands, and delivers with a certain clinical flourish, somewhat reminiscent of one of my favourite plays, albeit in another time and location – Stephen Daldry’s similarly daring revival of An Inspector Calls. Both projects regardless of their medium, not only astound the eye, but also force us to conduct a moral examination of our hearts and souls, as well as our roles within the greater consciousness.
This is a supremely daring, occasionally violent alert of the senses: (towards the end, there’s a startlingly realistic bullet-through-the-hand shot), and an ending so open (or closed), it’ll play on you for weeks afterwards. Cronenberg continues an eclectic display of skill across a versatile selection of genres.
A haunting, darkly triumphant masterpiece, with a fantastic performance from Pattinson. One of year’s most original pieces of work – as well as one of the most memorably impressive.
Read the whole review here | Via
Here’s a great Cosmopolis review by Sumoskinny
Once in a while, there are moments when you are watching a film where you feel completely uneasy – not so you’re going to throw up or walk out because you feel disgusted or violated, but where the tension just completely overwhelms you so that you’re grasping whatever you can to get over the unsettling feeling. Imagine that feeling for a whole 108 minutes, and that’s probably the best short description I could give you about nerve-wracking mastermind David Cronenberg’s newest movie “Cosmopolis.”
First off, anybody who puts down Robert Pattinson as an actor because of his Edward Cullen vampire history is a hater – straight up. The kid’s got major talent, proving it in “Cosmopolis.” He plays billionaire asset manager Eric Packer, a young sex addict who rides around New York City in his stretch limousine complete with a high-tech office, a hideaway toilet, and more than enough room for casual mid-day procreative endeavors.
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Here’s a great Cosmopolis review from Miami.com
Cosmopolis is mostly about the journey, not the destination. In adapting Don LeLillo’s once-ridiculed but now uncannily prescient 2003 novel, director David Cronenberg has kept the premise intact: A 28-year-old billionaire, Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson), takes a limo ride across New York City in search of a haircut. The president happens to be in town that day, so traffic is snarled even more than usual.
What’s eating Eric Packer, and why should we care? These are the wrong questions to ask of Cosmopolis, which is most certainly one of Cronenberg’s “weird” movies, told in unreliable first-person (Crash, Naked Lunch, Spider, eXistenZ) instead of his more accessible, popular pictures (The Fly, A History of Violence, Eastern Promises.) Is there any other esteemed director who would dare make such an aggressively divisive film at this stage of his career? Cronenberg is 69, but he’s still interested in exploring and experimenting with his medium. Every shot in Cosmopolis is precise, every edit exact. The score by Howard Shore, a frequent Cronenberg collaborator, sounds like airbrushed metal and ostentation, but with a coiled threat of menace.
Cosmopolis may be a cerebral mood piece, but it is loaded with strong performances that connect on an emotional level. Samantha Morton does wonders with an enormous monologue warning Eric about the financial icebergs toward which he’s floating: You can’t make sense of anything she’s saying, but you can’t help be transfixed by her. Juliette Binoche pops up for a quick, sweaty cameo as Eric’s art dealer and friend with benefits. Paul Giamatti is a bitter man whose place in society was deemed obsolete by Eric’s brave new world but who now has nothing to do: He’s been relegated to the junk heap, and he’s not happy.
But the movie wouldn’t work without Pattinson, who is in every scene and holds the film together with his portrayal of a magnetic tycoon rotting on the inside — a disillusioned man who, having amassed everything he could possibly want, asks if that’s all there is. This is just one possible reading of Cosmopolis: Viewers with the stamina to make it to the end (discipline is required) may have differing interpretations of the final scene, which is often been true of Cronenberg’s best movies. DeLillo’s book, inspired by the dotcom bubble burst, was critical of how online entrepreneurs had reduced the power of money to an abstract commodity (“What does it mean to spend money? A dollar. A million.”)
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“Cosmopolis” seems to be a perfect fit for Cronenberg, and my experience with the film was complicated a bit by the screening room where I saw it. There was no air conditioning, and it was mid-afternoon during the recent crazy heat here in LA. The screening room was completely full, every seat taken, and by the middle of the film, I was so hot I felt like I was slow-motion-fainting. Awful. And with a film that’s designed to make you uncomfortable anyway, my first reaction was to recoil.
I walked away blaming the movie, but thinking it over for the last week or so, I can’t get it out of my head. It’s exquisitely made, carefully controlled, a simmering look into the dead empty eyes of Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson) as Rome burns around him. Based on a novel by Don DeLillo, it’s all character, all mood, a slow surreal ride through Manhattan during a meltdown that seems to have been caused, in part, by his own hubris, and Pattinson is fascinating in the role. He seems to constantly be shifting through a complicated but subterranean inner implosion, pieces of himself shutting down at random, little by little. His stated goal for the day is simple enough. He wants a haircut. Never mind that the entire city seems to be on high alert thanks to the visit of a President and construction and protests and traffic and madmen and giant rats and angry wives and dirty lovers, all complications thrown in the path of Packer as he attempts to make his way across this tiny island, locked inside his sterile bubble.
I do not think I’m out of line when I observe that Robert Pattinson is from outer space. Part of what makes him so compelling in the film is that whatever weirdness Cronenberg throws at him, he rolls with it, staring out of that blank passive face with furious eyes. People race in and out of his personal orbit. He gets a physical from a doctor inside the cab at one point, carrying on a conversation while this guy’s got half his arm inside him, and the way Pattinson plays that scene is impressive. On the whole, Pattinson delivers in this difficult role, and I can’t picture anyone else tuning in more completely to what Cronenberg has done here.
It helps that Pattinson interacts with truly great performances from the supporting cast. Juliette Binocheshows up to have some sex, drink some booze, and lay some ugly truth on Pattinson’s character. Sarah Gadon is Packer’s wife, newly married and already looking for a way out, away from this shark-eyed and alien “other” who she has barely gotten to know as a husband. Jay Baruchel and Kevin Durand both do sharp and specific work in small roles here, and there’s a wonderful but oh-so-short appearance by Samantha Morton as well. Paul Giamatti almost steals the film in the last ten minutes, and it’s a testament to how good Pattinson is in the film that he stands there and refuses to let Giamatti run away with it. He gives as good as he gets. Giamatti is great, giving voice to all the frustration and powerlessness of everyone caught up in these forces at work in the modern world, these soft little boys dressed up in expensive suits, untouchable in their coffins on wheels. Giamatti is determined to break through the expressionless exterior of Packer to find the soft and vulnerable heart, and once he does, he plans to rip it out.
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From The Filmstage
There are about a million places you could start with this thing.
Oh, hell: “Brilliant.” Cosmopolis is certainly a brilliant film, one filled with all the subtext and qualities we call “cinematic” that you could ask for, but it presents this in a manner so deceptively simple it can only feel like genius. David Cronenberg’s newest effort says inordinate amounts about our society, often, by saying so little, to the point where it feels as though we, the modern audience, are looking into a funhouse mirror only two degrees off from being an exact portrait.
And that’s more terrifying than anything the Canadian auteur has ever put onscreen.
More unsettling, yet, is Cosmopolis’ insistence on what truly constitutes time. Everybody here is moving, everybody is going toward something, everybody is trying to get away from something, yet they’re not reaching anywhere. Cronenberg’s world is one in which time is an inevitable, unstoppable, horrible form of forward momentum which everyone is consumed by with every passing (nano, zepto, centi) second. Whether we’re inhabiting a 20-foot vehicle on the way to a barber or marching in a funeral procession, there’s no real difference; it’s only taking us one step closer toward the end.
Not that you’d get it from the basic “plot,” as it were, in which billionaire Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson) decides he needs a haircut. Nothing about his upper appearance would suggest such work is even necessary — heck, his hair is practically short — but he needs one, and he needs to get it at a specific place. With his loyal guard (Kevin Durand), he sets off into the Manhattan streets; the slow collapse of society is just an obstacle to drive through.
Read more after the jump!
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