A few columns back I stated that I was not going to see any more of director Steven Soderbergh’s films after having sat through “Magic Mike.” Add to the list director David Cronenberg, after now having sat through all that I could stand of his dreary, pretentious, self-indulgent new film“Cosmopolis.” This movie is a huge rip off and my readers need to be warned.
At around the mid-point of “Cosmopolis,” the main character’s wife, Elise (Sarah Gadon) talks about having been at the theatre but leaving at intermission. I took this as my cue to walk out of this studied, talky and interminable film.
There is a screenwriting warning that says the way to be a crashing bore is to have your characters say everything. Cronenberg seems to have embraced this rule. His characters say everything but ultimately nothing. For the most part they seem to be wealthy, self-absorbed hipsters (pardon the redundancy).
“Cosmopolis” stars Robert Pattinson (of “Twlight” fame) as Eric Packer, a wealthy entrepreneur of some kind. Packer spends most of the movie, at least the approximately first half of it that I saw, in a stretch limo inching across a traffic clogged city trying to get to a barber on the other side of town. We are told that the traffic is due to the fact that the president is in town. Packer insists that he needs a haircut, although his hair looks perfectly fine.
Obviously this is not enough motivation on which to hang a 108 minute movie. Add to this the fact that Packer does not shut up as he, and various characters who make visits to his limo, including a doctor who performs a rectal exam on him (yes, in the limo) make pointed observations about technology, politics and class oppression. These are not characters. They are self-obsessed, “cooler than cool,” legends in their own minds, symbols who spout, undoubtedly, Cronenberg’s ideas helped along by those of the novel, by author Don DeLillo, on which the film is based. There is nothing wrong with a movie conveying ideas, all I ask is that they be conveyed dramatically.
The characters, at times, do not even seem to be talking directly to each other. Each seems to be off on his or her own tangent. The result is that no story ever evolves while we certainly have no have interest in the characters or anything they say or do. Perhaps Croenenberg inadvertently sums up “Cosmopolis” best when one of the limo’s visitors says, “Do you ever get the feeling you have no idea what’s going on?”
“Cosmopolis” is playing locally at Landmark Sunshine Cinema, 143 East Houston Street.
“Cosmopolis” director David Cronenberg, 2012,
Entertainment One, 108 minutes, rated R