Great Cosmopolis Review from LoveFilm “What price a haircut these days?”   2 comments

From LoveFilm

Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson) is not just another Wall Street hotshot, not just another Master of the Universe or Gordon Gekko clone, he’s a cross between Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and Steve Jobs – only younger and better looking.

Packer wants a haircut, and he knows where he wants to get it too. He’ll conduct his business in his limo – it’s an office on wheels, really – and get across New York City if it kills him. Which it might, because the President is in town and there have been threats and menaces. Also there’s a celebrity funeral procession – one of the high priests of rap has died, “natural causes” – so the streets are murder. Packer’s people are not happy. But what Packer wants, Packer gets, you can be sure of that.

That’s David Cronenberg’s adaptation of Don DeLillo’s 2003 novel in a nutshell, and if you have been fooled by that kickass trailer into expecting something dynamic and punchy, well you have been fooled, because the movie is a different beast entirely.

But it is brilliant, I think, a long-awaited return to the kind of subversive science fantasy that used to beCronenberg’s specialty, before he went all respectable (well, I exaggerate, but A Dangerous MethodEastern Promises and A History of Violenceare well-behaved films in comparison).

Cosmopolis received a mixed-to-lukewarm reception at the tail end of Cannes last month, but people weren’t prepared for its weirdness, the talk and the static and the Pattinson… It’s a strange combination. What we have is pureCronenberg; his most Cronenbergian movie since eXistenZ (which was his last solo script credit, not so coincidentally), and in many ways a throwback to Naked Lunch andVideodrome.

Robert Pattinson

Crucially, it’s a satire first and foremost, a cool but not an altogether unsympathetic portrait of a modern man, cocooned from the outside world whether he likes it or not by technology, luxury and financial imperative. Packer may be a billionaire (though his stock is depleting as the picture goes on and the Chinese yuan continues to thwart his best predictions) but like the rest of us he’s consumed by work.

His sex drive, which is considerable, is almost indistinguishable from his compulsion to wheel and deal: he screws every which way he can (including Juliette Binoche, plus he conducts a meeting with Emily Hampshire during his daily prostrate exam) but his three week old marriage to heiress / poet Elise (Sarah Gadon) remains unconsummated, despite their fixed encounters for breakfast, lunch and dinner. (It’s not explained how she gets around town – perhaps she walks.)

Like another iconic trader, Brett Easton Ellis’s American Psycho, Packer is living the dream as a nightmare. He’s hyper smart, but barely conscious of his own alienation.

Some, perhaps most, will find this movie airless and artificial – but that’s certainly intentional. Outside the filtered and bullet-proof windows of the limo, the city is a back projected carnival of protest and unrest, but Packer barely blinks even as his car is splattered with slogans and detritus. It takes a custard pie in the face from Mathieu Amalricto shock him into a human response – too bad for his bodyguard! – though it turns out his obsession with a short back and sides is more about reestablishing human contact with his barber than tonsorial requirements. And even this is not enough – he must go further, and we realize his slow-moving trajectory is really a death-wish.

Some folks are reluctant to admit Robert Pattinson can act. They will come round eventually. The guy is more than his haircut. This is a talky script, but he navigates it with skill and conviction, especially the lengthy two-hander with Paul Giamatti at the climax.

Slyly funny and at least as philosophical as it is political – by which I mean it’s as concerned with existential angst as much as social inequities – I predict Cosmopolis will come to be seen a one of Cronenberg’s purest accomplishments.

5/5 Stars

Via alexandra1116

Posted June 13, 2012 by fastieslowie in Cosmopolis, Robert Pattinson

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2 responses to “Great Cosmopolis Review from LoveFilm “What price a haircut these days?”

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  1. Pingback: LoveFilm’s Review of Cosmopolis // Project Cosmopolis

  2. Pingback: Great Review ‘Cosmopolis’ from LoveFilm « The Pattinson Code

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