Cosmopolis is a film directed by David Cronenberg which stars Robert Pattinson (Eric Packer), Sarah Gadon (Elise Shifrin), Paul Giamatti (Benno Levin) and Kevin Durand (Torval). It is a movie about a character Eric Packer who is a rich billionaire who drives throughout the city chatting and having conversations with various characters while he attempts to find a place to get a haircut and figure out the Chinese currency trading markets.
There is an interesting directorial style in this film and from watching it or even viewing from the trailer above it does have a very distinct setting along with colours and tones. Much of the film is situated inside Packer’s limousine making camera angles quite close upon the character talking. It does well to sort of capture the audience and compress them into this small limousine’s space, to hear just the conversation and nothing else. There is nothing to really look at other than the characters and hear what they are saying.
In essence it is good as it is a dialogue rich movie one not reliant on action scenes or even fancy graphics. However many may find the dialogue difficult to follow if not fully paying attention to everything being said as characters seem to speak in riddles and random thoughts going on in their head. Many discuss the meaning of life as they see it while also trying to relate it to the world and how people fit into it. It’s an interesting philosophical movie when looked at through this way and one may need a second viewing to fully capture everything the movie has to offer.
There is only one problem I found with the viewing of these character driven speech type scenes as we ride along in Packer’s limousine was that all the character’s sounded the same. Surely it was some intentional stylistic feature of the film and I do like the style. But after viewing the whole movie it was like watching one person talk to themself the whole time. To me nobody really stood out as their own individual character, no defining characters. Just more of the same. Even in the final confrontational scene the madman Benno Levin didn’t seem so different to main character Eric Packer. But I guess this all comes down to characterisation and the themes the movie is trying to portray.
Apart from the acting and style in Cosmopolis the music is not really present either, scenes are quiet and focused. There are some renditions here and there but it was one of the few movies I have watched in recent times where I noticed a lack of sounds. It is a pity because everything is so quiet in that car I sort of wonder why, but don’t really ask for it to be turned on because some of the dialogue is interesting to follow. Themes in the film also centre around capitalism and ones self worth in the world while protesters and anarchists protest in the street complaining but all of it just seems like noise. The real point is focusing on Packer’s character. But does that go anywhere?
Packer is not a happy billionaire, he is on a self destructive path and may even be on the borderline of a sociopath especially in the scenes with his security guard Torval. While he has become rich at a young age (supposedly 28) he has become risky, no longer does he really enjoy anything it’s like he doesn’t really feel anything and is looking for some type of freedom. He breaks away from his careful security guard through a most unemotional scene for someone so trusted. Only to confront the madman Benno in which he inflicts pain upon himself the only time in the film I think that Packer actually felt something. It’s difficult to discuss the films character’s and characterisation without spoiling the plot for those who haven’t seen, but it is something the film bases it’s entire work upon. But for some reason it may feel absent to some.
The acting in this film is good I guess for what it is supposed to be, however many character’s really have no emotion prevalent even the main Robert Pattinson which is mainly due to the style but it may lead to some dull viewing for some. Without outward expressed emotions, character’s that don’t stand out on their own and basing the whole plot on one character’s journey it makes it very hard to really become connected to anyone who appeared in the film. Which I think is the main problem. Having scenes so slow as well and confined to a certain environment can also make the movie feel slow. The fact that the limousine is driving around while they are talking does not help either. The film is like when your sitting in a car in traffic, waiting to go somewhere. But I’m not sure by the end if it was worth the 109 minute trip once you get there.