'Cosmopolis' will talk you to death
By Roger Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News ServiceDavid Cronenberg loses himself in the florid soliloquies of Don DeLillo in “Cosmopolis,” the filmmaker's creepy, cryptic and ever-so-chatty take on DeLillo's novel of the Wall Street “1 percent.”
January 14, 2013, 12:51 am TWN
It's the talkiest movie of Cronenberg's career — a sermon, really. That tends to overwhelm Cronenberg's cinematic instincts, his eye for the decadent, the gruesome and the kinky.
“Cosmopolis” is a gorgeous film of absurdly good-looking people spouting bromides, platitudes and underlined and capitalized “BIG thoughts.”
It's fascinating, but anti-cinematic and a frustrating film to get your arms around.
Eric Packer, the philosopher-womanizer-currency trader played by Robert Pattinson, looks out the tinted windows of his posh limo at the protesters, anarchists and people who toss rats at the super-rich, and intones “They came from horror and despair.”
“They,” like he, know the words of writer Zbigniew Herbert, which DeLillo chose as the epigraph for the novel and which introduces the film. In a city under siege, “a rat became the unit of currency.”
The New York of “Cosmopolis” is teetering toward anarchy. Not that people like Packer experience it. His security detail protects him, from the steps of the New York Stock Exchange and all along the many stops he makes on his limo-driven way across town toward a haircut he is compelled to get.
His limo is his world. He tracks currencies, indulges in his paranoia — nagging his partner and tech guy (Jay Baruchel) about the security of the car and their offices. It's important, Eric impassively pleads. Because “We have meaning in this world.”
Let others fret over the morality of gambling billions on whether the Chinese yuan will rise or fall in value. Eric is a cliché, the bored Master of the Universe, to borrow Tom Wolfe's description of the type. Every “perceived threat” his bodyguard (Kevin Durand) warns him of only rocks his ennui. Eric wouldn't mind encountering a little violence and might not even be bothered by losing a fortune on this one, long day. It breaks up the monotony.