The current trend in film to adapt any text, which has had some success and is not already a film continues; with Canadian director, David Cronenberg’s adaptation of Don DeLillo’s book, Cosmopolis. Exaggerating the books themes of: Power, Technology, Violence and Terrorism, Cosmopolis paints a bleak picture of a futuristic New York enslaved by a greed for money. Twilight star, Robert Pattinson, plays a distant and cryptic, twenty-eight year old Wall Street trader and multibillionaire, Eric Packer.
This “day in the life” drama follows Packer simply crossing Manhattan in his armored limousine to get his haircut at an old-fashioned barbershop, that he and his father use to get their haircut when Eric was a child. His seemly simplistic journey is hindered by a few bumps in the road; a visit from the US President shuts off roads, a anti-capitalism protest creates a sense of anarchy, and a funeral procession for a dead rapper crossing through the middle of town. All three things combined cause gridlock across the whole of Manhattan and as a result Eric’s limo is forced to inch its way through the streets of New York.
Which conveniently gives Packer the opportunity to meet everyone and anyone of relative importance in the narrative. Eric also faces the possibility of financial ruin at the hands of the Chinese Yuan and also the small issue of a disgruntled former employee stalking him with intentions of murder placing a “credible threat” to his life. That considered, this film delivers little action and rather is made up of sequences of long dialogue exchanges.
Robert Pattison provides a strong performance that was not particularly bad, but neither was it particularly good. Alongside him stars Sarah Godon as Eric’s mysterious new bride. The supporting cast includes: Saving Private Ryan star Paul Giamatti playing a disturbed former employee, Tropic Thunder star Jay Baruchel and Juliette Binoche playing friends of Eric. Also Munich star Mathieu Amalric plays a cameo as a pie-throwing anti-globalisation protester, Andre Petrescu. All perform brilliantly opposite Pattison.
Cronenberg’s style can be somewhat of an acquired taste. If you didn’t enjoy the dialogue heavy script of David Cronenberg’s last film, A Dangerous Method, then you may not enjoy this film either. Cronenberg’s faithfulness to DeLillo’s novel may have restricted this film at times, with large parts centered within the claustrophobic confines of Packer’s limo allowing hardly any space for action inside a static environment.
Cosmopolis could be described as being, at times, mundane. But the film has its moments of conflict, and does take you on a whirlwind journey of sex and death from the start to the end. I cannot really see this being a summer hit and many who go to see the film may come away feeling a bit cheated. Nether-the-less Cosmopolis is a cool, crispy piece of capitalist satire.
Director: David Cronenberg
Cast: Jay Baruchel, Juliette Binoche, Kevin Durand, Paul Giamatti, Robert Pattinson, Samantha Morton, Sarah Gadon
Runtime: 108 mins