Cosmopolis Review Roundup – Part 5REVIEWS: Roundup Collections of
More reviews of Cosmopolis; these are excerpts, please click on the source title for the full review. More review collections to come…
It took me a little while to get into sync with the film, but when I did was captivated. Especially when we get to the Paul Giamatti stuff. Good God he’s great in this film. [...] The real trick of this one lies in Robert Pattinson’s portrayal of Eric Packer. [...] And when you consider the journey of the film is to get a haircut, you start to get a picture of just how difficult a role this was for Pattinson. I may not be a fan of Twilight, but I don’t hold that against Pattinson, especially if he’s going to use his starpower to do brave work like Cosmopolis. I wouldn’t say he comes alive here, that’s not the character, but he makes an unlikable character likable. [...]
Cosmopolis has a lot on its mind and it’s difficult to process after just one viewing. This wasn’t a film I left the theater in love with… it was one I had to mull over. [...] For Cronenberg fans his fingerprints are all over the movie… not nearly enough (read: any) new flesh for my taste, but there’s a dark sense of humor that underlines the film. Love it or hate it, it’s a fascinating movie, a different kind of experience than you usually expect at the cinema. [No Rating]
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. [No rating]
This is not the only sequence where Cronenberg employs large patches of DeLillo’s dialogue. Cosmopolis’s mordantly witty exchanges, which Cronenberg compares to playwright Harold Pinter’s repartee, cascade trippingly off the tongues of Pattinson, Hampshire, Sarah Gadon, Juliette Binoche, and Paul Giamatti. Some critics have complained that this dialogue-heavy film is static, theatrical, and uncinematic. But Cronenberg, who can certainly lay on the visual pyrotechnics when he feels the urge to do so, rightly believes that a restrained style is not equivalent to an absence of style and that, in any case, trenchant words can often have a more lasting impact. Celebrated early in his career for inventive low-budget horror films incorporating garish special effects, he has now pared his cinematic modus operandi down to the bone.
Pattinson seems to relish the opportunity to shed his image as a matinee idol and portray a predatory capitalist. Although far from the only young actor who could be envisioned as Eric, he is certainly effective in a less than sympathetic role. Gadon, who also appeared as Carl Jung’s wife in A Dangerous Method, Cronenberg’s last feature, imbues Packer’s wife, Elise Shifrin, with a combination of subtle intelligence and cool beauty. Giamatti, however, delivers the film’s most dynamic performance as Benno Levin, an enraged man whose anguished tirades sum up the apocalyptic mood of a society experiencing an ongoing crisis. [No Rating]
But there was one literary adaptation that proved enthralling, although it won no awards. David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis, Based on Don DeLillo’s novel, is chamber theatre on wheels, a series of dialogues staged largely within the claustrophobic capsule of a stretch limo crossing Manhattan from east to west.
The film’s commentary on financial excess and its erosion of the Western soul is at times overstated and mundane, like the novel; but Cronenberg seems to have found an absurd comedy in DeLillo’s hyper-stylised dialogue. Cosmopolis is hypnotically slow and still, its forward thrust paralleling the glacial, hypnotic glide of the limo. This makes me admire the trailer all the more: it offers a two-minute assemblage of wham-bam action, which is totally misleading and a magnificent stroke of chutzpah. [No Rating]
Cronenberg made sure all his obsessions that delineates this itinerary, whether they are intellectual (the quest for another Reality) or physical obsessions ( in a scene which will make people talk a lot, Packer learns he’s got an asymetrical prostate). Sitting proudly at the back of his limo, Robert Pattinson reveals all his profound depth as we see the main character getting close to his abyss. The fear,which we can gradually read on his face at the very end, is not the anti-hero’s own fear ( even if he’s reaching a point of no return) it’s also the actor’s fear who is testing his own limits with an unsuspected bravery. It’s a feverish and decadent ride in hell and Cosmopolis proves he’s not done reaching them. [Rating: 3 Stars]
Rolling Stone Peter Travers
…this mesmerizing mind-bender ought to prove two things: (1) Robert Pattinson really can act; (2) Director David Cronenberg never runs from a challenge.
Working with gifted cinematographer Peter Suschitzky, Cronenberg creates a crumbling world in microcosm. In this fever dream of a movie, Pattinson is incendiary, notably in a climactic gun scene with the great Giamatti. Cosmopolis, demanding as it is daring, is no easy ride. I mean that as high praise.
Screen Daily Lee Marshall
The cerebral postmodern novels of US writer Don DeLillo have so far proved immune to screen adaptation. It’s not difficult to understand why as we watch David Cronenberg’s arid stab at Cosmopolis, DeLillo’s 2003 yarn about a multi-millionaire asset manager crossing New York in a stretch limo to get a haircut as his investments plummet. Cut and pasted almost verbatim into the script, the novelist’s mannered dialogue and shallow characters (many of whom are simply mouthpieces for ideas) make for an anemic, dramatically flat viewing experience.
As a post-capitalist parable with psychotic overtones, Cosmopolis has a certain purchase. [...] Bankable Twilight saga star Robert Pattinson is fine in the main part: if his Eric Packer is a little cold, a touch robotic, then so is Cronenberg’s unapologetically stylised approach to the story; this was never going to be a role that called for big emotions. [No Rating]
Every exchange feels entirely clinical, which leaves our central character lacking a core sense of humanity. [Again,] this is intentional because Packer is an attractive package — he just happens to be entirely empty. Over the course of the film, as Packer’s investment in the Yuan starts to tank, and the masses begin to rebel, he and his limo are rattled — but they both remain intact until the final, cryptic frames, when the packaging is finally breached. The symbols are all functional and Cronenberg’s allegory for a civilization divorcing itself from its own humanity is entirely realized, but without a potent emotional angle, it’s little more than an intellectual exercise. [No Rating]
Eschewing the shrewd, type-A businessman that is typical of today’s Wall Street melodramas, Cronenberg opts for a reserved and even philosophical lead character. But the lengthy and verbose conversations that consign Packer to a chair for most of the film threaten to alienate the audience as they sit in their own chairs in the theatre. Cosmopolis is a cerebral film, but not an accessible one.
I personally admire Cronenberg’s daring. Cosmopolis is a cinematic curiosity; to some, it may seem misshapen (much like Eric Packer’s prostate). My recommendation is to get in the car and go with the flow of the traffic. I predict future viewers will pull this one over, ask, “what happened?” and find brilliance. [No Rating]