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Dans' Review: Cosmopolis

Dude, where's my limo?
Cosmpolis (Prospero Films)

Rated R for some strong sexual content including graphic nudity, violence and language.

Robert Pattinson, Jay Baruchel, Paul Giamatti, Kevin Durand, Juliette Binoche, Samantha Morton, Sarah Gadon, Mathieu Amalric, K'naan, Emily Hampshire, Patricia McKenzie.

Written by David Cronenberg, based on the novel by Don DeLillo.

Directed by David Cronenberg.

GRADE: C-

REVIEW:


If you're not familiar with the cinematic works of David Cronenberg, be warned that his movies are not exactly what you'd call "mainstream," and often rely on a little shock, gore and dark themes (not to mention graphic sex).

You can expect all of the above in Cronenberg's latest film Cosmopolis, the story of a billionaire on a quest to get a haircut while traveling across Manhattan in a stretch limosuine.

Robert Pattinson stars as Eric Packer, an eccentric rich guy bent on self destruction. As he rides to toward his haircut, Eric encounters his wife (Sarah Gadon), who refuses to have sex with him so she can concentrate on her own career. He also meets with his art dealer (Juliette Binoche), his advisor (Samantha Morton), his cyber security specialist (Jay Baruchel) and several anti-capitalist protestors. During this journey, Eric is accompanied by his bodyguard Torval (Kevin Durand), who keeps him safe from a "credible" threat on his life. Oh yeah, he has sex with most of the women he meets, other than his wife.

During the crosstown trip, Eric proceeds to lose his billions through speculation on the Yen. His life spiral continues until he meets up with his would-be assassin (Paul Giamatti).

Cosmopolis is definitely a Cronenberg film, although much more obtuse and cryptic than some of his recent narrative movies (Eastern Promises, A History of Violence). It's more in the vain of Crash; a movie that is more mood than story.

If there is a message to Cosmopolis, I really couldn't tell you what that is, and perhaps that's by design. You're supposed to take what you want out it. If you pressed me, I'd say that DeLillo's book and Cronenberg's interpretation of it have something nasty to say about capitalism, and that Eric (and his self destructive spiral) are metaphors for pretty much everything the Occupy Wall Street movement stands for. It's up for debate, so you decide, if you happen to see Cosmopolis.

Speaking of seeing the movie, it might be difficult, since Cosmopolis will enjoy only limited art house exposure. That may be something the Twilight publicists are happy about, since Robert Pattinson's performance as the gluttonous, violent, misogynistic Eric might turn the stomachs of any giddy teen or housewife that pines for another look at the man who plays the dreamy Edward Cullen - only a few months before the release of Breaking Dawn Part 2.

Despite the odd casting of Pattinson in such a dark film, Cosmoplis is a pretentious attempt to deliver some sort of socio-economic commentary, lost in a bunch of Cronenberg icky-ness. Sure, some of Cronenberg's cinematic talent shines through, but in the end, Cosmopolis is a dark, violent story of the worst haircut ever.


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