director: David Cronenberg
writer: David Cronenberg
starring: Robert Pattinson
released: July 5, 2012 (Germany), August 17, 2012 (U.S.), September 27, 2012 (Greece)
based on the novel: "Cosmopolis" by Don DeLillo
Whichever way you see it, one movie can define your career. Luckily for indie filmmakers that is not the case. David Cronenberg might be one of the great directors of our day, having jumped from countless of genres to bring us some of the most mind bending, interesting and disturbing films to date. Only if "Cosmopolis" could have entered that precious list, instead of resulting into a fumbly, inconversable, wooden, stale and detached mess of a film.
Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson) is a 28 year old multi-billionaire asset manager, who makes an odyssey across Manhattan in order to get a haircut. In between this odyssey, he has sex, weird health check ups, business meetings and personal affairs run. He is a man alienated from the world and only in touch with his inner kingdom and wealth. This reality is soon set to crumble, as a plot unfolds to destroy his empire and maybe his life.
I've been lately noticing a common issue with bad films. Its not all the time that the story is the culprit or that the meanings are too difficult to grasp, but that there is a clear absence of likable and intriguing characters to follow. Some characters are so appalling, that following them on their escapades is a task to difficult to accomplish. "Cosmopolis" is no stranger to this problem, in combination sadly with its other out-worldly issues that make this less than a cinematic zeitgeist that it sets out to be.
We follow throughout the film, the character of Eric. The rich pompous jerk that dosen't care about others, except for his own wealth, fame and well being. He is sought after to be assassinated and for his empire to be ruined. Why? We never really find out. Somebody is after him, who we don't know their agenda or motive and when it all comes down to it. We don't get a clear answer and finally not cared, as we haven't understood the whole point of the means to the end, that we have just reached.
If this all sounds confusing and mind boggling, it's because it is. A conclusion to that, could have been reached without the great amount of overt meanings and symbolic events. The nonsensical dialogue, wooden performances and questionable behaviors of characters bring us nowhere in reaching the films ultimate goal.
Which is a overall statement on humanity's sad connection to power and greed and the outcomes of it. Which is a interesting statement to put forward to an audience, if done correctly. But this effort is lost, when the film completely withdraws us from the process of having any sentiment for characters, story, dialogue, location and existence.
It's all a odd batch of elements that alone might have lead somewhere, but together are a giant brain-freeze. When you have a assassination plot with no mystery, assassin or main character without a story arc and a world background of revolution, war and crime without exposition. Then you have yourself a true waste of talent, production and material.
As our protagonist is alienated from the impoverished world, so are we from the decadent aftermath of this film. You might come out of this film, with a great destain and appalment for greed driven human beings, but also for the film-making that assumes loose meanings, heavy and derivative dialogue and a soulless story can offer any kind of positive reaction from an audience.