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Cosmopolis [Blu-ray]
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122 of 150 people found the following review helpful
on September 18, 2012
*Contains Spoilers*

I read this book when Robert Pattinson signed on to the project, and to be honest, I didn't like it on the first reading. It grew on me by the second reading, but the movie made me love it. One of the challenges Cosmopolis faces is that it's impossible complete the phrase, "The moral of the story is...." and so many people, me included, dislike things that can't be easily defined. I've seen interviews with David Cronenberg and Robert Pattinson where they say that it is impossible to tell you what they story is about, but don't make the mistake of thinking that it's about nothing, it's just about open to so many interpretations that it's impossible to pin down. I'll give you mine, but rest assured that if you don't like what I see, chances are you'll see something else entirely anyway.

The story, in it's most basic form, is about Eric Packer's limo ride across the crowded city to get a haircut. He encounters various people and scenarios along the way, and inexpicably he encounters his new wife at several stops along the way, even though that would seem to be impossible since he's seemingly moving forward (albeit slowly) and she appears to intend to remain somewhat stationary. In a sense I think the limo ride is a microcosm for a Eric's journey through life. There is that saying that some people are in your life for a reason and some people are in your life for a season and I think he encounters his wife several times as a symbol of all people in a person's life that they keep coming back to, but it's poignant because he never really understands her, or her him even though there is that desire. They both very much are pretending to be normal, or at least understand normal, and don't we all feel that way sometimes? Even if he doesn't realize it the limo can be seen as his hearse because life is, afterall, a journey toward death. It's important to note that Eric is going to all this trouble of traveling across town to see his father's barber, which I think is symbolic of Eric's desire to somehow either connect with his past, become like or understand his father, or reach some sort of arbitrary life goal he's set for himself based on familial expectations all while he's sprucing himself up for his inevitable demise.

One of the few misses in this movie is that Cronenberg left out a scene where Eric encounters "three hundred naked people sprawled in the street" and he takes off his clothes and joins them and even thinks he sees his wife, Elise, in the crowd. In the book, I thought this was the only time that Eric really seemed to fit in with the people around him and it seemed to be the first time he understood Elise. It seemed like a sort of ritualistic cleansing before burial for Eric. Cronenberg also leaves out that in addition to Eric losing all his money he also intentionally loses all of Elise's as well. I think this points to the "you can't take it with you" philosophy and helps Eric resign himself to the fact that he's done. That Cronenberg didn't focus on these two bits of information makes me think that my entire interpretation of the story is wrong and you all should go about your day. Nothing to see here folks.

In a much hyped about scene worth the price of admission, Eric Packer encounters Benno Levin, his "stalker" for lack of a better word, played by Paul Giamatti. The fact that Eric Packer's security team has been working locating an undetermined "threat" to Eric's safety which was presumably Levin, but that Eric inexplicably stumbles upon the warehouse where he is hiding with no real reason for going there in the first place calls for a similar suspension of disbelief to the one that allows you to believe that Eric can repeatedly and coincidentally encounter Elise when he is traveling and she, seemingly, is not. It brought to mind that moment in Fight Club when you learn that Edward Norton IS Tyler Durden. Imagining that that scene might be taking place inside Eric's head kinda blows my mind. That being said, I'm pretty sure I'm wrong.

This movie is worth being seen because it is one of very few thinking movies. Much has been made about the fact that the timing of this movie coincides nicely with the Occupy Wallstreet movement but even though there are so many aspects of this movie that can make you think about the validity (or invalidity) of the financial market, this movie is really just about one person trying to find meaning in life.
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71 of 91 people found the following review helpful
on September 21, 2012
I won't try and explain this movie to you, because I think it's impossible to do. There are many, many interpretations of what goes on and I believe that you have to see it for yourself to determine what it means to you. That being said, I had great conversation afterwards trying to decide just what I thought it portrayed, and I came up with several. I will finally just say that this is definitely one that I will purchase so that I can watch and re-watch it. And I'm sure that every time I see it I will come up with something different. THAT's what makes this a great movie to me! The acting, especially by Robert Pattinson, was absolutely phenomenal. The ensemble actors were all wonderful though and each brought something very different to the movie. I can't wait until this becomes available - I will be first on the list and suggest that you get on that list as well!!
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47 of 64 people found the following review helpful
From the strange to the sublime, few filmmakers have fascinated me more than David Cronenberg. The Canadian auteur has made some of my all time favorites, and his distinctive sense of macabre humor and his skewed world view is in evidence even in his most mainstream work. With a string of great films that included Scanners, Videodrome, The Dead Zone, The Fly and Dead Ringers, he earned a nickname (a personal favorite) as the King of Venereal Horror. But not to limit himself to genre work, he also scored accolades for his interpretation of Naked Lunch, A History of Violence, and Eastern Promises. I love Cronenberg in case you couldn't tell! Even his less successful pictures courted big ideas (Existenz, Spider) and/or great shock value (Crash). Say what you will, Cronenberg makes the films he wants to make and to heck with anyone else! I have to respect that. That is a large preface to discussing his latest effort "Cosmopolis," which in my estimation is a film that will elicit strong reactions from its viewers in both the negative and the positive sense. Adapting Don DeLillo's novel of the same name, the film unravels like a surreal (and utterly deadpan) dream as society teeters on the brink of anarchy.

Robert Pattinson veers about as far away from his Twilight role as one movie will allow. I appreciate that he wants to stretch as an actor and Cronenberg is notoriously good with his performers (Jeremy Irons' best work is in Dead Ringers and Jeff Goldblum was never better than in The Fly). Pattinson plays a financial genius who is betting his company's fortune on the day's events. In the midst of increasing turmoil, however, he becomes obsessed with riding across town to seek out a barber from his past. The cityscape as he travels very slowly in his limo is decidedly dystopian with riots and confrontations brewing. Along the way, Pattinson holds court with various people who drop into and out of his car. Among the bigger names that he encounters through the course of this day are Juliette Binoche, Samantha Morton, and Paul Giamatti. The movie is basically made up of random scenes and discussions that directly relate to our fascination with money, power, technology, and information. As the movie progresses, however, these themes lead to greater violence and even revolution. It is a cerebral exercise as much as a movie experience. There is a fair chance that you will be intrigued by its ideas, but an equal proportion of viewers will find the experience lacking. I suspect there will be little middle ground.

For my taste, "Cosmopolis" falls into the interesting failure category in Cronenberg's filmography. The movie has a purposeful chilliness and remoteness that can make every conversation seem like it is in monotone. There is a certain humor underlying the proceedings, and the movie does work as a deadpan satire. It is an unrepentantly bleak indictment of modern society and its values. Some of the character interactions are quite entertaining, some are a bit more perplexing. There are a lot of significant points to ponder, but the screenplay tends to handle most matters with a fairly heavy hand. By the time things start escalating out of control, I found myself not caring very much. And the big payoff comes in the form of a confrontation with a lively Giamatti (after all the stilted talk, Giamatti appears as if in a different movie altogether). But even this moment never really satisfies. "Cosmopolis" was interesting, to say the least, but I simply found that some of its parts were stronger than it as a whole. Not conventional in any sense, this may be a love-it or hate-it proposition. As a huge Cronenberg fanatic, I ended up being strangely apathetic. KGHarris, 12/12.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
COSMOPOLIS follows ultra-rich, global financier Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson) as he tries to get to the barber shop. Riding slowly in a stretch limousine w/ an interior not unlike the starship Enterprise, Packer encounters several of his business associates and acquaintances. Not much action takes place, other than brief sexual encounters, a riot, a prostate exam (!!), a senseless murder, half a haircut, an attempted assassination, and a .38 caliber hand-piercing. No, the power of COSMOPOLIS lies not in action, but in words. The dialogue consists of various philosophical conversations concerning life, death, commerce, technology, and various other subjects. Packer is a vastly empty man. He has reached a point in his "life" where absolutely nothing matters. To call him "bored" would be like calling the sun "warm". Packer has no real reason to be or go anywhere. His mammoth wealth is worthless. His property, like his position, is without value to him. Packer is a demi-god who has attained so much that he has nothing left to do, say, or even think. Packer is a well-dressed, well-versed corpse. What happens when a man reaches such a level of "success"? At 28 years old, Packer has seen and done it all. Since he's used up the whole earth in his pursuits, where else can he go? With COSMOPOLIS, David Cronenberg has made one of the most fascinating films of his career. Highly recommended...
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12 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2013
This is more like a heavily stylized stage play than a conventional film. The performances are all ratherly deliberatly deadpan, the dialogue is all very unnatural and the plot is one long series of small encounters after another. Cut down appropriately, it might actually be better as a play than a film.

There is endless repetitive empty dialogue babbling about techology and money all with the spectre of "the revolution" lurking in the background. It gives the impression of being deep, but its all profoundly shallow. No particular insights are offered other than sort of a mindless heavy-handed tantrum against all modern life. When it runs out of empty words, the film is carried to a conclusion through violence. It doesn't even really end. It just ceases.

Paul Giamatti gives by far the best performance in the film in whats probably the key role. It almost reminds me of "heart of darkness" in terms of plot played out in New York. Heart of Darkness usually fails as Drama because nobody can live up to being "Kurtz" toward the end. The film gets that part kind of right, but everything else wrong.

The film is all style but no substance. All the characters are one-dimensional sockpuppets. It was interesting to watch because it was so unconventional, but its not a good film in any sense.

One final note. The extras for this film are extremely interesting. There is a very long "making of" documentary that in some ways is better than the film itself. If its watched carefully, you can sort of figure out why the film turned out the way it did.

The best bit of irony is listening to the director talk about the "dehumanizing" nature of technology as a theme in the film in terms of wall street. But he doesn't see how he himself has dehumanized the whole film process from treating his actors like machines to shooting his film almost entirely in a green screened digital world .... to trying to direct laying on a couch in his trailer. The process of making Cosmopolis documented here is as strange and dehumanizing as anything to be found on Wall Street or in the world of technology.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 14, 2014
David Cronenberg's Cosmopolis (2012) is a very fine adaptation of Don DeLillo's book of the same name which sees 28 year old multi billionaire 'Master of the Universe' investment genius Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson) take a trip in his customer-designed stretch limo across New York to get a haircut. En route he meets all his important 'managers' who give him advice which he ruminates on. On the trip he encounters various obstacles - the President is in town which is causing chaos on the streets, there is an anti-capitalist 'rat' demonstration, a huge celebrity funeral cortege for a rap star, and finally the realization that someone out there is trying to kill him. Meanwhile Eric is waging a gigantic bet against the yuan (the yen in the book) in which he looks set to lose everything he has. In short Cronenberg follows DeLillo to a T here as he lays out a very contemporary vision of western society in which one of the most important leaders of it (who can make and break economies of countries depending on the investment decisions he makes) is basically a ruthless, cold, immature computer wizz who hasn't a clue how to conduct relationships in the real world. He disses his 'best friend' (technical advisor Jay Baruchel) at the film's outset for remaining mired in his pre-millionaire mindset which Eric once shared and has since moved on from, he has a weird 22 day-old marriage with socialite Sarah Gadon with whom he can't communicate normally, and he takes on advice from characters played by the likes of Juliette Binoche (a very sexy art dealer who protests on moral grounds when Eric says he wants to buy the Rothko Chapel), Samantha Morton (whose ultra cool techno-monetary spiel offsets the violence of the demonstration rocking the car from outside) and Emily Hampshire (who gives him hot financial advice while he receives an examination of his 'asymetrical' prostate and she crushes a plastic bottle between her legs). Completely self-obsessed, he is a symbol of everything that is bad about the capitalist system. The people that visit him in his car represent other aspects of the society, all of whom are dependent on him and who will go down when he also goes down. The film picks up tremendous claustrophobic power by being set almost entirely in the car and the performances are all uniformly excellent, especially Pattinson, Kevin Durand (his security advisor) and at the end, Paul Giamatti who plays his ultimate nemesis, Benno Levin.

The film is very faithful to the book, with virtually all the dialog taken straight from it. Cronenberg wrote the script himself in 6 days and said that all he did was take out the dialog and then create the linking passages. This is typically modest from the great man, because look carefully and there are subtle differences which do have huge effects. Most obviously missing from the film is the giveaway passage from Benno's confessions which broadcasts the story's conclusion very early. That gives the book a very different tone from the film. Then there is a vision towards the end of the book of a street covered in naked bodies for a film shoot, one of whom turns out to be his wife who he makes love to in a dirty alley. Possibly Cronenberg thought this might overtop the film's climactic confrontation between Eric and Benno. More practically perhaps he wanted to avoid local obscenity laws about public nudity in the US (and presumably Canada). The film has been criticised for having too much dialog. I disagree as it is in the sharp talk that DeLillo is at his best. Cronenberg knew this and therefore decided to make it an asset. If you don't like DeLillo you probably wont like this film. I have read all DeLillo's novels and I am thrilled that Cronenberg has given us here something so faithful to the original and, yet, so cinematic. As an adaptation it is every bit as successful as Cronenberg's other adaptations of 'difficult' reads, Naked Lunch (William Burroughs), Crash (J.G.Ballard) and Spider (Patrick McGrath).

The quality of this One Entertainment DVD is superb, Peter Suschitzky's digital photography looking christalline and very 'real' despite (because of?) the extensive use of green-screening throughout to re-create New York in Toronto. The DVD includes an excellent documentary 'Citizens of Cosmopolis' which has a longer running time than the film and goes way beyond the standard commercial 'making of' doc. We see all the cast in interview and best of all of course there's Cronenberg in action. Most striking is how much as an auteur film maker he still trusts all his actors and his crew to give him what he wants. The truth is he doesn't know what he himself wants at the beginning, but as the shoot develops and all the cast and crew give him very different takes on what he was expecting, we see the creative process in motion. The finished film is a product in which all involved feel they have given something personal, and yet it remains the work of one over-riding auteur. Great movie-making is essentially a collaborative enterprise and Cronenberg shows here how the process far from leading to compromise, in fact leads to something rich and fascinating. Great stuff.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
From the strange to the sublime, few filmmakers have fascinated me more than David Cronenberg. The Canadian auteur has made some of my all time favorites, and his distinctive sense of macabre humor and his skewed world view is in evidence even in his most mainstream work. With a string of great films that included Scanners, Videodrome, The Dead Zone, The Fly and Dead Ringers, he earned a nickname (a personal favorite) as the King of Venereal Horror. But not to limit himself to genre work, he also scored accolades for his interpretation of Naked Lunch, A History of Violence, and Eastern Promises. I love Cronenberg in case you couldn't tell! Even his less successful pictures courted big ideas (Existenz, Spider) and/or great shock value (Crash). Say what you will, Cronenberg makes the films he wants to make and to heck with anyone else! I have to respect that. That is a large preface to discussing his latest effort "Cosmopolis," which in my estimation is a film that will elicit strong reactions from its viewers in both the negative and the positive sense. Adapting Don DeLillo's novel of the same name, the film unravels like a surreal (and utterly deadpan) dream as society teeters on the brink of anarchy.

Robert Pattinson veers about as far away from his Twilight role as one movie will allow. I appreciate that he wants to stretch as an actor and Cronenberg is notoriously good with his performers (Jeremy Irons' best work is in Dead Ringers and Jeff Goldblum was never better than in The Fly). Pattinson plays a financial genius who is betting his company's fortune on the day's events. In the midst of increasing turmoil, however, he becomes obsessed with riding across town to seek out a barber from his past. The cityscape as he travels very slowly in his limo is decidedly dystopian with riots and confrontations brewing. Along the way, Pattinson holds court with various people who drop into and out of his car. Among the bigger names that he encounters through the course of this day are Juliette Binoche, Samantha Morton, and Paul Giamatti. The movie is basically made up of random scenes and discussions that directly relate to our fascination with money, power, technology, and information. As the movie progresses, however, these themes lead to greater violence and even revolution. It is a cerebral exercise as much as a movie experience. There is a fair chance that you will be intrigued by its ideas, but an equal proportion of viewers will find the experience lacking. I suspect there will be little middle ground.

For my taste, "Cosmopolis" falls into the interesting failure category in Cronenberg's filmography. The movie has a purposeful chilliness and remoteness that can make every conversation seem like it is in monotone. There is a certain humor underlying the proceedings, and the movie does work as a deadpan satire. It is an unrepentantly bleak indictment of modern society and its values. Some of the character interactions are quite entertaining, some are a bit more perplexing. There are a lot of significant points to ponder, but the screenplay tends to handle most matters with a fairly heavy hand. By the time things start escalating out of control, I found myself not caring very much. And the big payoff comes in the form of a confrontation with a lively Giamatti (after all the stilted talk, Giamatti appears as if in a different movie altogether). But even this moment never really satisfies. "Cosmopolis" was interesting, to say the least, but I simply found that some of its parts were stronger than it as a whole. Not conventional in any sense, this may be a love-it or hate-it proposition. As a huge Cronenberg fanatic, I ended up being strangely apathetic. KGHarris, 12/12.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A film that leaves you feeling, "WTF?" This avant-garde work oozes with symbolism and metaphors. The first one you should pick up on is the rat. The rat symbolizes a universal currency when society is at its lowest point. Toward the end of the film, Eric's barber comments "You're hair is ratty." Investor Eric Packer (Robert Patterson) represents all rich people whose world must be destroyed to make way for the new. This is your basic Phoenix or Shiva philosophy. Eric is being driven through NYC as all kind of events are happening outside of his limo. Eric is shielded from these events as his financial world goes to ruin. The world outside passes by almost in a surreal fashion and at times he blocks it out altogether.

We have the destruction idea as Eric has bet against the Yuan, Chinese currency. The theory implies that China is the new empire built upon the ashes of our American empire. Don't bet against it.

The people who enter Eric's cab appeal to be bits and pieces of his psyche. This is brought out when one woman who prattles on about philosophy (some key metaphor points) and claims she is his "Chief of Theory." Sarah Gadon plays Eric's trophy wife, a woman he knows nothing about and hasn't slept with. Their whole relationship was odd and clearly symbolic of...God knows what. Eric builds his world on formula and balance when life has neither.

For people who like their films straight forward, forget it. Good luck with this one.

Parental Guide: F-bomb, sex, full frontal nudity (Patricia McKenzie). Perhaps the longest "finger wave" in film history.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon January 1, 2013
To say that COSMOPOLIS isn't for everyone doesn't quite capture it. This is a film whose plot, such as it is, basically hinges around the value of Chinese currency. Its central character, young businessman Eric Packer, spends most of the movie in his limo, on his quest across New York City in order to get a haircut that he doesn't really need.

In other words: Robert Pattinson's legions of TWILIGHT fans should steer clear. Not that they will.

As far as Pattinson goes, he's aptly cast. He's able to radiate an emotional detachment, even when he's conveying a sense of ironic enjoyment at the downturn events are taking. (The best comparison I can think of is Keanu Reeves in THE MATRIX: an actor who, talent or lack thereof aside, was perfect for the part; that being said, Pattinson actually does have some acting talent up his sleeve, and shows it here.) The supporting cast--featuring Jay Baruchel, Sarah Gadon, Samantha Morton, Juliette Binoche, Mathieu Amalric, Paul Giamatti, and others--rotates in and out, each shining in their own, Cronenberg-influenced way.

This is definitely David Cronenberg's film; in fact, it's the first film in years that feels reminiscent of the Cronenberg of the 70s and 80s. He takes Dom DeLillo's basically unfilmable little novel and translates it beautifully to the screen. The film founders a bit in spots (it's a tad too long for such an intimate, moral story), and comes off as too didactic in other spots. Of course, that's the point; there's rarely anything subtle about a Cronenberg film, and COSMOPOLIS is a shining example. It's certainly not for everyone; but for those who dare to enter Cronenberg's devious imagination, there's a real treat to be found here.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 2014
This movie is almost word for word, scene for scene, the book. For any other book, this could be a good thing, but DeLillo's "Cosmopolis" is not of the style that lends itself to adaptation, and I have a feeling he only said yes to the adaptation out of humor. And, moreover, that Cronenberg knew exactly this: that "Cosmopolis" shouldn't be adapted but that it might be somehow artful to do so anyway, to take the bare words of a book and to make real people say them, such as to covey the absurdity of the world of finance capital. Yes, yay, art and the resistance of commodity and all that (there's surely a publishable article to come out of my reading here). But if you want to be entertained, you should stay away from this movie. If you're looking for "art," I guess you might like this--but I don't know your tastes!
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