Thursday, February 14, 2013


Cosmopolis (2012) - dir. David Cronenberg

David Cronenberg is one of cinema’s foremost auteurs, but sets himself apart from his peers with his daring projects and controversial subject matter. Now with Cosmopolis, Cronenberg finally enters the 21st century, and has made perhaps the most peculiar film I have seen in years. 
Cosmopolis sets its sights on the world wealth and capitalism, with Robert Pattison’s character Eric Michael Packer symbolizing for me the latest trend of neo-yuppies. Young, insanely rich, at 28 Eric has already reached the pinnacles of success. However rather than the usual pursuits one would associate with the young and rich, rather he seems to have transcended these and reached what Manchla Dargis describes as “a permanent state of Zen”. Indicative of this, Eric’s singular desire, despite all pleasures of the world within his grasp, is a haircut. So sets off an Odyssey across New York.
To be perfectly honest, it was here that the film lost me. From the moment Eric steps into his state of the art limo, he moves at a snails pace through the traffic jammed streets of New York City. Along the way he meets a series of advisers and friends, mistresses and on repeated occasion his wife, and with each has the most impermeable philosophical conversations I have been witness to. These deep and supposedly meaningful conversations were completely lost to me, largely as I did not feel at all the characters themselves believed nor understood what they were speaking of! 
However towards the end the film found me again. This was upon my realization that this was not the stoically self serious film I had assumed it to be, rather Cosmopolis is a sardonic parody of the world it presents, that of the 1%. Were this released during the height of the Occupy movement, this film probably would have had a greater impact. The film is brilliant in portraying the sheer absurdity behind the über rich, the paranoia and existentialist drama associated with the transition to the technologically run future, and even the desensitizing of society to sex and pleasure.  
Cosmopolis can be seen as the 21st Century retort to James Joyce’s Ulysses, being a piece of literature that one can spend decades trying to comprehend to little avail. However what I did see on the surface, from the recognizable Cronenberg traits (gore be praised!), to the superb visuals, and the interesting conversations had throughout (as long as you don’t take them too seriously!). This was admittedly not the film I had hoped for going in, but that’s not to say there wasn't much to enjoy. 7/10


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