Movie Review: Cosmopolis
Reviewed by Kevin Finnerty
“I need to get a haircut,” says Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson), a 28-year-old billionaire who’s about to go on the longest, strangest and most life-changing drives in history across Manhattan in director David Cronenberg’s dramatic film, Cosmopolis.
Set in the near future on perhaps the busiest day in New York City – and the worst day to try to travel across town – Packer conducts his errands and business in his luxurious limousine while only stepping out a few times. Those few times occur when he sees his new wife (played by Sarah Gadon) and tries to convince her to finally have sex with him, even while acknowledging their marriage is loveless and soulless. Constantly ending up in gridlock due the President of the United States being in town, as well as a funeral procession for a music legend, Packer keeps his eyes on the Chinese Yuan’s exchange rate which is mounting against all expectations and threatening Eric’s fortune and future. The possibility of losing his fortune still doesn’t prevent him from carrying on with business in his limo and from having his daily physical by one of his doctors.
Packer’s slowly growing state of paranoia begins to take hold as protestors and riots break out in the streets opposing the rich Wall Street elite of which Eric is the king. As his fortune tumbles and as it seems he may never reach his father’s old barber, it becomes clear to Packer that he just may be headed for his own assassination by a crazed, obsessed stalker.
Dark, foreboding, and weird, Cosmopolis is a moody, disjointed and choppy film which is in the same style as some of Cronenberg’s earlier and more forgettable movies (Naked Lunch, eXistenZ). Robert Pattinson delivers an adequate performance as the narcissistic, sex-obsessed, billionaire playboy whose paranoia slowly begins to take him down what might be the path to his destruction. Unfortunately for Pattinson, the film, and the audience, Eric’s a glossy, superficial character with no real depth and therefore uninteresting. The audience never has a chance to develop any real connection to Packer or any of the characters he interacts with during his odyssey for a haircut.
The film’s pacing is incredibly choppy and sporadic with no continuity, going from scene to scene with no flow or rhythm. This is definitely NOT Cronenberg’s best work and it just might be his weakest film to date.
Shallow, boring and bizarre, Cosmopolis – based on the critically acclaimed novel by Don DeLillo and adapted for the screen by Cronenberg – is a stylistic, tedious journey with a man who’s as empty, one-dimensional and pointless as the film’s script.
Cosmopolis is rated R for some strong sexual content including graphic nudity, violence and language.