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Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson),a 28-year-old billionaire asset manager, heads out in his tricked-out stretch limo, while remotely wagering his companys massive fortune on a bet against the Chinese Yuan. His trip across the city quickly turns into a wild, hypnotic odyssey as he encounters explosive city riots and a parade of provocative visitors. Having started the day with everything, Packer s perfectly ordered, doubt-free world is about to implode. Bonus Features: Citizens of Cosmopolis Featurette, Audio Commentary with David Cronenberg.
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A cult classic that will be revered in the years to come.
The movie deals heavily in allegory and is chock full of metaphors of the declining state of society as interpreted by screenplay-writer/director David Cronenberg from the Don DeLillo novel. Though there actually are a few points along the way that give the story some life - interesting visuals and important moments - they are dragged down by the somber overtones and sullenness of the portrayals. Of course, this is drama, but overall the film leans too severely on unrelieved angst.
last third of the film, and the ending). Only cab drivers and barbers escape Cronenberg's withering sardonic humour and sarcasm, as he jabs billionaires (played, almost effortlessly, by Robert Pattinson), bitchy wives, narcissistic men and women, lesbians (but who end up being smarter than their bosses), doctors, bodyguards, anti-globalists, Mark Rothko (his paintings prominently displayed in the closing credits),
immigrants, guns, mental illness, sex, body odors, diners, agoraphobia, joggers, IT nerds, and even manages to insult rats, yes, rats. Lynch
has done this before ("Mulholland Drive", "Inland Empire") and Robert Altman ("The Player"), but none of these were films about nihilism, about the eradication of reason and empathy, in the human soul. This film is a voyage through that eradication. If Cronenberg's brilliant "Crash" is one car crash (+ sex) after another, then "Cosmopolis" is one long crash (+ some sex). We just don't get to see the crash. This is a hilarious film without any laughter (and I did not laugh when I watched this film; quite the opposite). "Gentlemen, what we have here, is a failure to communicate". Yes, on practically every human level. The rats communicate more than the humans, who talk past each other,
as they nurse their own personal demons, totally oblivious to any other human (except the barber and the cabbie turned bodyguard). Cronenberg has produced a map of nihilism and what it can, and does, do to the human soul, deprived of love, empathy, community, health, almost everything, but especially what society does to those who make too much money, and those who used to make too much money,
and those, who make none at all. Why does an older generation Italian-American barber (former cabbie) bond with a middle-aged African immigrant (former cabbie), when all the middle-aged and younger White hedonists in Manhattan (Toronto as the actual site of filming) compete with each other to see, who is the most narcissistic ? We don't know, but Cronenberg seems to be saying something about race, age, profession and plunder, as different facets of human nature, but some are more humane than others. The nadir of Eric Packer's (Pattinson) journey, comes when he crosses self-pity with Richard Sheets aka Benno Levin, played with Academy Award-level quality, by Paul Giamatti. Levin (Sheets) used to work for Packer, but of course, Packer does not know him from Adam, as a CEO, he need not. Levin shoots at him, and Packer chases him down in his "rathole" apartment, a frightened, agoraphobic, mentally ill, man, who once stood for something important, but lost track of what it was. Packer reminds him of what it was, and Levin self-destructs, as he realizes that his life meant nothing, without his job, which he could not keep pace with. At the same time, Packer self-destructs in an orgy of narcissistic self-pity, only possibly exceeded by Levin's. Two men, one giant complex, and an asymmetric prostate. I will say no more, but the last 1/3 of the film is priceless. Both Pattinson and Giamatti are something to behold, as they try to outdo one another in self-victimhood and insanity. If you do not get this film, it is because, you are not SUPPOSED to get this film. You are supposed to feel this film and watch different facets of humanity claw their way, among the rats, for recognition and for empathy, totally incapable of generating any on their own. This is not, perhaps, Cronenberg's best film, or maybe it is (and, oh so many, to choose from). It is not didactic like "Eastern Promises", "A History of Violence" or "A Dangerous Method". It is the antithesis of "eXistenZ", the unwombing and unhybridizing of a man, who lives out of a white limousine (later, in the film, not so white), and doesn't even know how to bond with a rat. If you are a cynic, let alone, a nihilist, this film may or may not answer your questions or confirm your beliefs, but you will not forget this film for a long while, because Cronenberg does not want you to. And in that sense, Cronenberg himself, is as much the hedonist, as those he mocks, but he ISN'T out of a job.