15) Cosmopolis [4.5]

New York City, not-too-distant-future: Eric Packer, a 28 year-old finance golden boy dreaming of living in a civilization ahead of this one, watches a dark shadow cast over the firmament of the Wall Street galaxy, of which he is the uncontested king. (2012)

It wasn’t entirely surprising to find out after viewing Cosmopolis that it is an adaptation of a novel. The vast majority of the dialogue is prose-y, and the text of Cosmopolis would likely work significantly better as a stage play. Conversations drag on and on as characters come in and out of scenes, each spouting one philosophical question after another. To his credit, Robert Patterson holds his own in such a talky road, but he, nor the usually reliable David Cronenberg, can elevate the material into a worthwhile film.

One of the more pressing issues is that each actor’s performance feels like it’s from a different movie, especially the truly awful Sarah Gadon. (It seemed as if she came from off the set of one of David Lynch’s stranger affairs.) I place fault in Cronenberg’s hands, as the director should be the one to have the performances congeal into something that remotely resembles coherency. Sure, there’s something to be said for how each actor’s approach, tone and delivery works when juxtaposed against one another, but it simply didn’t work for me.

Some of the questions posed in Cosmopolis are interesting (not so much “Why are they called airports?“), yet they are mostly rhetorical, as the movie never wants to commit to one idea for too long. This is especially confounding considering that some scenes can be upwards of twenty minutes. All the philosophical questions reminded me of a poor man’s Waking Life without any of the fun or brightness. The limousine commentary echoed very close to last year’s Holy Motors, a much stranger film that also takes place largely in a limousine over the course of a day, but one that actually had something to say.

1 comment
  1. Haven’t seen the movie yet, but the book is one of my favorites, even though it’s generally considered to be one of DeLillo’s weakest efforts. I’m not surprised by much of what you say here; I never thought the book would make particularly good cinematic fodder, and it’s frequently criticized for being more “pamphlet” than prose. It’s a short book, and probably a good point of entry if you’ve never read DeLillo.

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