You probably won’t like David Cronenberg’s ‘Cosmopolis’. It’s a hard movie to enjoy. Two people walked out of this screening—and these guys get paid to watch movies. It’s dense, verbose and discusses capitalism through use of obtuse metaphors and, frankly, those are all big barriers if you’re not tuned in, caffeinated and invested (so to speak) in what’s going on. There’s also an inherent ugliness and unpleasantness to lead character, billionaire Eric Packer, offset by the angular and all-too-perfect Robert Pattinson – itself a brilliant bit of casting.
So yeah, you probably won’t like this movie – and I wouldn’t blame you. It’s a bitter pill and it knows it. David Cronenberg (Videodrome, eXistenZ), however, is in fine form here—and if you’re braced for the kind of experience he generally provides (that is, brooding and introspective examinations and taut, sometimes horrific, suspense), Cosmopolis is actually a fine film and utterly fascinating.
…As an adaptation of the equally unapproachable novel by Don DeLillo, Cronenberg made a few very wise decisions early on. One, this is Robert Pattinson’s hands-down best role. In the hands of a very capable director and a punishing script, Pattinson turns in a performance that channels a young Robert De Niro, New York twang and all. His performance is so understated and brilliant that, during moments where he breaks through this Wall Street gloss, he comes across as truly unhinged and monstrous. This is a frightening performance in the best ways and points towards a hell of a career ahead for Pattinson.
…Cosmopolis isn’t a humourless film, however. Amidst the bleak, there’s also levity – usually in the form of obtuse one-liners and a hilariously morbid slapstick attack late in the movie – and these moments are deeply appreciated to help counterbalance the dark core of the narrative.
…For one of the smartest films I’ve seen in a while, Cosmopolis is also one of the least outwardly enjoyable. That by no means makes it anything less than a great film however. But if you can stomach the loose poetry of the dialogue, heavy use of metaphor and occasionally lax pace, this will leave you thinking about its cultural commentary long after the curtains close.