By Mark Saldana
Rating: 2.5 (Out of 4 Stars)
David Cronenberg’s satire of the lifeless and soulless riche feels a bit lifeless in its delivery, thus making for a trying 109 minutes. Actually, the film feels much longer and drawn out than it is. Cronenberg ambitiously attempts to adapt the novel by Dom Delilo, and probably faced a challenge in doing so, but perhaps this is a story lacking certain cinematic qualities and not meant for the big screen. Either way, the film was released theatrically last year to mixed responses and is now available for viewing on DVD and BluRay.
Cosmopolis follows a day in the life of billionaire Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson) as he travels through Manhattan in his luxurious stretch limo to get a haircut. Along the way, he conducts business with various colleagues, meets with his wife with whom he has a loveless marriage, indulges in a couple of extra-marital affairs, all the while consistently getting stuck in traffic jams caused by the President’s visit, a funeral procession, and the activities of a protest group.
As I have not read Delilo’s novel, I cannot honestly say for sure that his novel cannot be adapted for film, but based on what I have read regarding the book and the film version, I can speculate that Cronenberg, who also wrote the screenplay, faced some challenges and difficult decisions in turning this story into a movie. My main issue with Cosmopolis has to do with the repetitive nature of the narrative. It’s not so much that most of the scenes take place within the limousine, but mainly that the scenes often feel redundant in their content. The message/moral of the story feels so forced and beaten to death. The whole thing feels like overkill and it gets quite tiresome after a while. The film starts out promising, but becomes increasingly difficult to appreciate after the message begins receiving excessive exclamation points.
The entire cast does deliver quality performances, particularly Pattinson, who once again proves he can really act, as opposed to his stiff and lifeless performances in the Twilight saga. The movie also features Jay Baruchel (Shiner), Kevin Durand (Torval), Sarah Gadon (Elise Shifrin), and Paul Giamatti (Benno Levin). My favorite performance comes from Giamatti who really shines in his role, but unfortunately has limited screen time.
That really is the problem with this movie. The screenplay feels so limited in scope that the scenes become redundant in their content, despite the character and superficial changes. The Blu Ray and DVD also feature audio commentary and a Citizens of Cosmopolis Featurette, so the extras are a bit limited as well. I would recommend this as a rental for its solid acting, but not as a purchase.