Cosmopolis benefits from having David Cronenberg at the helm, but its faithful adaptation makes it a frustrating and anti-climactic film that’s better off read than watched.

New York City, not-too-distant-future: Eric Packer, a 28 year-old finance golden boy dreaming of living in a civilization ahead of this one, watches a dark shadow cast over the firmament of the Wall Street galaxy, of which he is the uncontested king. As he is chauffeured across midtown Manhattan to get a haircut at his father’s old barber, his anxious eyes are glued to the yuan’s exchange rate: it is mounting against all expectations, destroying Eric’s bet against it. Eric Packer is losing his empire with every tick of the clock. Meanwhile, an eruption of wild activity unfolds in the city’s streets. Petrified as the threats of the real world infringe upon his cloud of virtual convictions, his paranoia intensifies during the course of his 24-hour cross-town odyssey. Packer starts to piece together clues that lead him to a most terrifying secret: his imminent assassination. — (C) Official Site

Cosmopolis is a well directed and stylish film. The corporate sleekness of American Psycho, precise direction, and stunning cinematography makes this a visually arresting film. There’s relatively no story here, but the scenes run on a certain flow that makes you want to stay and watch.

The whole cast is good. Sarah Gadon was able to portray a character that matched her lines. Paul Giamatti made his existential mutterings sound profound and elevated the ending.  Surprisingly, Pattinson is decent in this film.

Unfortunately, he and the cast are trapped in a cerebral and hyper-articulate film that’s difficult to grasp. Most of the scenes take place in a stretch limousine where characters pop in with no sign of how they got out. Everybody has a lot to say, but whether they actually mean something is uncertain. The dialogues are monologues of intellectual statements and tech babbles.

Packer’s trip across town and encounters along the way provide some structure to the film, but it will bore the hell out of an average moviegoer. Apart from flashes of violence and primal sex, there’s not much to it. A billionaire just wants to have sex with his deadpan wife and get a haircut across town. The anti-climactic ending makes it all the more frustrating.

Cosmopolis is faithful to its resource material but as a result, you’re better off reading the book. There’s probably something here about capitalism and greed, but it’s buried somewhere in this absurdist film.

My Rating: 5/10

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