Cosmopolis

A dreary Robert Pattinson sits in his dreary limo in David Cronenberg’s dreary new movie “Cosmopolis.”

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

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About unpaidfilmcritic

Up until 2009 Seth Shire spent nearly two decades in the New York film industry as a post production supervisor of feature films. Highlights include working on the films of Martin Scorsese, James Toback and Spike Lee. Since leaving the film industry Seth has expanded into new and varied areas where he has found a great deal of satisfaction. Seth currently teaches in the Sociology Department of CUNY Queens College. His courses include "Mass Media and Popular Culture," "Introduction to Sociology," and "Sociology of Cinema" where he is a very popular teacher. Seth is also the film critic for "Town & Village," a Manhattan weekly newspaper, a position he has held for the past six years. Seth gives back to his community through volunteer teaching at Manhattan's "The Caring Community," a center for senior citizens, where he teaches a very popular course on documentaries called "The Golden Age of the Documentary. In the fall of 2010 Seth taught "Critical Reading and Writing" at Parsons School of Design. He has also taught "Cinema Studies" at the New York Film Academy. Seth lives in Stuyvesant Town, in Manhattan.

Posted on August 27, 2012, in New and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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