Cosmopolis Review Roundup – Part 1REVIEWS: Roundup Collections of
Cosmopolis had its world premiere yesterday in Cannes and the reviews are coming out. Let’s take a look at what some of the critics have said:
Telegraph.co.uk Robbie Collin
Cosmopolis picks up on and runs with all three of the central themes that have emerged over the last 11 days of the Festival: our response to chaos; the collapse of the era of excess; and the terror, and comedy, of death. It could almost be a bizarro prequel to Leos Carax’s Holy Motors, another film in which a limo ride becomes an odyssey. At its heart is a sensational central performance from Robert Pattinson – yes, that Robert Pattinson – as Packer. Pattinson plays him like a human caldera; stony on the surface, with volcanic chambers of nervous energy and self-loathing churning deep below.
Guardian.co.uk Xan Brooks
Cosmopolis, praise be, is flat-out marvellous, a 21st-century American horror story, haunted by “the glow of cyber-capitalism”. David Cronenberg does an elegant job of converting Don DeLillo’s chilly, mysterious prose to the screen, while the performances have just the right wonky, off-kilter intensity. I particularly liked Mathieu Amalric’s brief appearance as a pie-hurling anti-globalisation protester. More films should include a cameo for Amalric as the phantom pie-thrower.
Film School Rejects.com Simon Gallagher
Billed as an odyssey full of characters who leave marks, the reality of Cosmopolis is far from it. Purporting to be a stylish anti-Capitalist portrait, played out as Eric’s New York fever dream, the film is actually just a self-conscious, self-indulgent mess of impenetrable poetic nonsense. Yes it bears a striking gloss, and is shot basically well – which of course it should be given Cronenberg’s association with film-making – but it is way too showy without the necessary substance, and as a result feels fatally hollow, and worryingly unengaging.
Toronto(Star).com Peter Howell
We might quibble with the emphasis Cronenberg places on dialogue, on the staginess of his sets and on the relative lack of action.
What we can’t argue is that Cosmopolis is the work of a master filmmaker, one who is determined to have us think about the ideas packed into the trunk of this limo bound for the furthest corners of the psyche.
Empire OnLine.com Damon Wise
Cronenberg’s cool, intelligent film asks all these questions – literally – and more, then goes even further, asking: what does meaning mean? Seriously. Even by the director’s lofty standards this is a talky film, and most of it goes round in circles. As promised, it concerns a limo ride to get a haircut, but Cosmopolis – based (to what extent I have yet to find out) on Don DeLillo’s novel – is a surprisingly roomy affair, and not simply a one-set gimmick. In some senses it resembles Godard’s Weekend, since the traffic is terrible and civilisation seems to be crumbling outside it, but this will also play well to genre fans and is definitely one of Cronenberg’s most ambitious movies to date.
Hitflix.com Guy Lodge
Rather, the image – though lifted straight from DeLillo’s novel, like pretty much everything in Cronenberg’s exceedingly faithful adaptation thereof – seems principally an assertion of the hand of David Cronenberg: the funny, fevered, corporeally obsessed Cronenberg of old, the Cronenberg who became his own best adjective and has been only intermittently present, if not always to detrimental effect, in his last three or four films. The hinky, kinky, defiantly unlovable “Cosmopolis” lands in our laps with bristly self-assurance. “You asked for this,” it seems to be saying, one of the few things unspoken amid its torrent of thematically pointed verbiage. “Let’s see if you really want it.”
THR.com Todd McCarthy
Disappointingly, the director could not find a way to electrify the energy of the opposition (sometimes seen outside the limo’s windows, which also allow Eric to shut off the rest of the world like a TV set), nor has he found a fluid, quasi-hallucinatory technique for transitioning among the numerous situations and their constantly changing participants. Of the guest cast, Morton probably makes the strongest impression as an adviser closest to Eric’s level of expertise.
Little White Lies.co.uk David Jenkins
David Cronenberg’s superb latest is an existential road movie for our financially and morally bankrupt times, interested as much in addressing the semantic minutiae of the corporate apocalypse as it is deep felt anxieties relating to stress, success, control and our inability to ward off death with money and status.
Timeout.com Dave Calhoun
That said, there’s a consistent air of charged, end-of-days menace running through the film, which Cronenberg handles with an unbroken sense of precision and confidence. He’s well-served, too, by a leering, disintegrating Pattinson, giving a commanding, sympathetic portrait of a man being consumed by his own vanity and power.
The Playlist at Indiewire.com Simon Abrams
Cronenberg doesn’t slim down DeLillo’s simultaneously sprawling and precisely dense narrative as much as he carves his own flourishes onto it. A couple of scenes, including Packer’s interest in bidding on a chapel full of art, and his visit to a night club full of drug-fueled ravers, are only necessary to establish a uniform pace to Cronenberg’s narrative. But in that sense, these scenes are just as essential as the ones where Kinski and Torval give Packer advice. Everything matters in Cronenberg’s “Cosmopolis,” but not everything is necessarily the same as DeLillo’s book. And that makes the film, as a series of discussions about inter-related money-minded contradictions, insanely rich and maddeningly complex. We can’t wait to rewatch it.
MSN.com James Rocchi
The dialogue is rapid-fire, so much so that it leaves bullet holes. And as Eric goes across town in his ridiculous car — with the world coming to him in the form of business meetings, sexual liaisons and even doctor’s appointments in the back of the limo — we realize that Eric is the epitome of modern capitalism. The titans who make our world are small, broken people. And, interestingly enough, if you’re casting for a dead-eyed shark wreathed in unearned privilege, Pattinson turns out to be a pretty good choice.
There are other cast members who do an excellent idea of wrapping their heads around DeLillo’s big ideas and Cronenberg’s indirect dialogue — Juliette Binoche and Samantha Morton, Mathieu Amalric and Paul Giamatti — and the music, by Metric, supplies the right kind of spiky, sensuous unease for a man driven across town and driven to self-destruction. The film’s cynicism is both majestic and well-earned; at one point, Eric notes “… nobody hates the rich … everybody thinks they’re ten seconds away from being rich.” A chilly, crisp and crystal-shard sharp satire of our money-crazed world, “Cosmopolis” takes us on a limo ride through the collapse of modern society: We’re not behind the wheel for this ride, but rest assured, in the end, we’re going to have to get out and pay for it.
The Filmstage.com Raffi Asdourian
In David Cronenberg’s adaptation of Cosmopolis, a novel by post modern author Don DeLillo, the Canadian filmmaker tackles a dense criticism of capitalism, greed and class. Featuring an ensemble cast built on quick cameos, the film is anchored by a solid, ennui-filled performance by Robert Pattinson, shedding his Twilight skin for something more substantive and reminiscent of Christian Bale in American Pyscho. The challenge of compressing such dense literary concepts in filmic form is immense, and Cronenberg should definitely be applauded for his ambitious attempt at bringing these abstractions to life. Yet there is undeniable stale and static quality to Cosmopolis that makes it feel like watching someone read a book.
Twitch Film.com Brian Clark
Cronenberg has still made an odd, uncompromising and occasionally brilliant film of his own, one which is well worth seeing if only for the deft way the Cronenberg finds an emotional arc in such an inhuman world. Or else to see how perfectly Pattinson’s performance suits the director.
Cineuropa.org Domenico La Porta
Cronenberg has always liked to surprise his audience. From one work to the next, his filmography has followed an asymptotic pattern that is both fascinating and hypnotic. His filmmaking is unique, and he is continuously reinventing himself to core themes: violence, absurdity, and science-fiction, while alway continuing to explore human condition. But how does one adapt a tale so cryptic that it allows for a thousand interpretations? For a filmmaker who had already managed to turn a literary monument of absurdity into an powerful, puzzling, and loyally evocative film that stood on its own with Naked Lunch, the feat did not present too many challenges. Loyalty is important here, as this cinematic adaptation has been made to be just like the original: talkative, sometimes irritating, but also puzzling.
Variety.com Justin Chang
An eerily precise match of filmmaker and material, “Cosmopolis” probes the soullessness of the 1% with the cinematic equivalent of latex gloves. Applying his icy intelligence to Don DeLillo’s prescient 2003 novel, David Cronenberg turns a young Wall Street titan’s daylong limo ride into a coolly corrosive allegory for an era of technological dependency, financial failure and pervasive paranoia, though the dialogue-heavy manner in which it engages these concepts remains distancing and somewhat impenetrable by design. While commercial reach will be limited to the more adventurous end of the specialty market, Robert Pattinson’s excellent performance reps an indispensable asset.
Movie City News Jake Howell
David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis is a complex and incredibly nuanced film that adapts its source material handily, representing Don DeLillo’s novel with cinematic specificity and Cronenbergian methodology. Multiple viewings will be required to fully grapple (and perhaps enjoy) the result, but the film’s incredible dialogue and insightful rhetoric will challenge audiences in the best way.
Hammer to Nail.com Michal Oleszczyk
Cronenberg’s filmmaking here is both subdued and incisive. Humbly bringing DeLillo’s text to the foreground (although, as my Cannes buddy Simon Abrams told me, not without significant alternations), the film is nevertheless its director’s baby (and I don’t mean just the by-now-obligatory eye-stabbing). To borrow one of its own characters’ phrases, Cosmopolis is about “acquiring information and turning it into something stupendous and awful.” In other words, it’s about the world we construct for ourselves in our heads—as well as the perils inherent in the process. For all its talk of world economy, the movie pursues the same theme one of Cronenberg’s masterpieces did, which is to say that—just like in Spider—we’re once again sentenced for life to a solitary confinement within our minds and bodies.
Filmoria.co.uk Chris Haydon
Cronenberg’s latest will not be for everyone – it’s a slinky, scabby and repressed black dramedy that’s unobliging and unconventional – I’m sure some ‘Twihards’ will enter upon release simply for R-Patz and leave the cinema feeling either bored, bruised or baffled, but for those who enjoy challenging, alternative and uncompromising pictures, Cosmopolis is your drink of choice.