Ever wonder what it would be like to ride shotgun with a person who wholly personifies the extent and power one can extract from a capitalist culture? To sit next to the 1% of those living in opposition to the Occupy movement known as the 99%? By the way, whatever happened to that movement?
First off, before I even get into the nitty grit of this review, let’s get something out of the way. Yes, Robert Pattinson, who is best known for his starring role in the Twilight movies, not only stars in David Cronenberg‘s latest, but is the prominent figure in every scene. Those of you who don’t like that, or have already written off going to see this film because of this casting choice – your loss. All others, hang onto your thinking caps, and get ready to utter the words you might never have thought you would say, “Robert Pattinson can really act”, or something along those lines.
Summing up the film’s plot is not the easiest thing to do, but after all, this a review, so a brief plot synopsis is probably in order, is it not?
For 109 minutes we, the viewers, are thrust upon the shoulders of 28-year-old Eric Packer (Pattinson) as he travels from point A to point B in his hi-tech mobile office while in route to get a haircut. That plot description alone might lead some to believe that this film would belong within the canon of other one-day genre films such as Training Day, 16 Blocks, Crank, you name it. However, the only - and I mean only - similarity between Cosmopolis and those other day-in-the-life films lies in its one-day setting. Unlike those other films, this one doesn’t lend itself to any kind of Hollywood-type narrative. True, there is the threat of violence and even a little gun play, but primarily, this is a very cerebral film, and one which had me leaving the theatre with a profound sense of enlightenment.
Upon this, my first viewing (I plan on seeing this several more times), this ‘profound sense of enlightenment’, or the things that resonated with me the most – aside from seeing Pattinson hold his own when placed in several single-take scenes with more accomplished actors such as Juliette Binoche and Paul Giamatti - was the way I found myself relating to such universal themes as loneliness and greed (both capital and psychological). This film touches on a range of topics and should appeal to anyone hungry for original visual aesthetics and/or intellectual tangents spanning various plains of thought.
As is true with almost all cinema – or, for that matter, art in general – films will have a different effect on a person depending on where they are in life. For me, this fact seems to have a truer ring with films such as this, where debatable ideologies are presented via meaningful dialogue and where the filmmaker has something strong to say regarding humanity. This is Cosmopolis.