The press got an early look at ‘Cosmopolis’ this morning and were quick and loud with their largely positive reactions. Here are some of our favourite reaction tweets and reviews. We’ll update this post as they continue to pour in. We are posting excerpts; click on the links to read full reviews at their source.
The good, the better and the best about Cosmopolis, after the jump!
Filmoria: [Deb: Click the switch, I mean, link. You need to read this review]
For those expecting the explicit, hand-shooting and manic portrait the teaser trailer screened, you may feel a little deflated after watching. But if you open your eyes just a little wider, you’ll quickly realise you are witnessing filmmaking at its highest, most satirical and down-right demented quality. The picture is fuelled by existential imagery, dialogue and tones – the staggeringly slow pace of Packer’s limo is symbolic of his desire for safety, gently cocooning him in plush comfort from the horrors of the outside world, whilst his desire for ‘more from life’ is painted from his eternal boredom and isolation. It’s with these themes that Cosmopolis tremendously succeeds. Never does the audience feel sympathy or empathy with Packer, yet they know such a large amount about him and understand his complex and bizarre mind that it’s impossible not to become involved with him.
Despite being a small-scale and intimate project, Cronenberg doesn’t leave his directorial flair with the valet parking staff, he makes the film a visual whirlwind of weird and wonderful. The picture heavily relies on colour and strong exhibition and Cronenberg’s camera fails to miss even a stitch of the leather upholstery – his latest is a shiny, flashy diamond enclosed in a equally flashy transportation device.
But the film’s true driving force (excuse the pun) is Pattinson’s utterly fearless, audacious and sizzling performance. Both Twilight stars have now had films here in Cannes and both Kristen Stewart and Pattinson have given some of the festival’s strongest roles. Packer is a multi-layered, cynical, and chillingly captivating character; he’s a gritty brush-stroke of our modern day society, a itching rash that demands attending to. The world in which Packer resides in is one of disgusting wealth and luxury yet crippling doubt, paranoia, and self-loathing. Pattinson’s darkly comic and distressingly real performance here embodies everything Cosmopolis desires to express; he whispers and scuttles but his manners and aura leave a deafening echo hanging in the tainted, dystopian atmosphere.
David Cronenberg’s ‘Cosmopolis’ Is Both An Excellent Adaptation & A Rich, Complex Character Study
“Cosmopolis,” an adaptation of Don DeLillo’s typically provocative novel of the same name, is the first feature film since 1999′s “eXistenZ” that filmmaker David Cronenberg has directed and scripted. This in part explains why “Cosmopolis” is such a triumph: it’s both an exceptional adaptation and a remarkable work unto itself.
Cronenberg and Pattinson’s Packer is a different kind of suicidal but their character isn’t significantly less active in constructing his own demise. In DeLillo’s “Cosmopolis,” Packer knows what’s happening with the yen, whose value keeps exponentially increasing, but is keeping that knowledge close to his chest. In Cronenberg’s variation, he’s less sure. Packer is thus more immediately defined by his frustration with the finite-ness of his capabilities. He looks to others for solutions to his problems and finds that his yes-team can only confirm his own impotence. He is not slyly organizing his own downfall, but frantically seeking it out, unsure of whether or not he can find what he’s looking for. Packer only succeeds by sheer dumb luck: the man and an assassin looking for him have a lot more in common than the two realize.
At the same time, Cronenberg doesn’t slim down DeLillo’s simultaneously sprawling and precisely dense narrative as much as he carves his own flourishes onto it. A couple of scenes, including Packer’s interest in bidding on a chapel full of art, and his visit to a night club full of drug-fueled ravers, are only necessary to establish a uniform pace to Cronenberg’s narrative. But in that sense, these scenes are just as essential as the ones where Kinski and Torval give Packer advice. Everything matters in Cronenberg’s “Cosmopolis,” but not everything is necessarily the same as DeLillo’s book. And that makes the film, as a series of discussions about inter-related money-minded contradictions, insanely rich and maddeningly complex. We can’t wait to rewatch it. [A]
An eerily precise match of filmmaker and material, “Cosmopolis” probes the soullessness of the 1% with the cinematic equivalent of latex gloves. Applying his icy intelligence to Don DeLillo’s prescient 2003 novel, David Cronenberg turns a young Wall Street titan’s daylong limo ride into a coolly corrosive allegory for an era of technological dependency, financial failure and pervasive paranoia, though the dialogue-heavy manner in which it engages these concepts remains distancing and somewhat impenetrable by design. While commercial reach will be limited to the more adventurous end of the specialty market, Robert Pattinson’s excellent performance reps an indispensable asset.
Charges that this study in emptiness and alienation itself feels empty and alienating are at once accurate and a bit beside the point, and perhaps the clearest confirmation that Cronenberg has done justice to his subject. In presenting such a close-up view of Eric’s inner sanctum, the film invites the viewer’s scorn and fascination simultaneously; to that end, the helmer has an ideal collaborator in Pattinson, whose callow yet charismatic features take on a seductively reptilian quality here. It’s the actor’s strongest screen performance and certainly his most substantial.
Hammer to Nail: (note from Deb: this is a great review of the film’s material and themes – check it out)
In his impeccable looks, unashamed commodity fetishism and seeming omnipotence undercut by sexual panic, Packer evokes both Mad Men’s Don Draper and American Psycho’s Patrick Bateman. The incessant talk he engages in, packed with pointed one-liners to chew on in many a post-screening discussion, he also resembles another late-capitalist misanthropist and doomsayer: David Thewlis’ Johnny from Naked. While one may be a disadvantaged hobo and the other all but a walking embodiment of plutocracy, the fact is they both relentlessly examine the world in which everything has its price-tag attached to it and—to use but one of Cosmopolis‘ numerous memorable jabs—“money started talking to itself” and became almost a form of abstract art. Given that last observation, it’s fitting that the film’s opening image is that of a fast-forwarded Pollockian paint-drip and the last is Mark Rothko’s blurried-pastel geometrical arrangement.
Cronenberg’s filmmaking here is both subdued and incisive. Humbly bringing DeLillo’s text to the foreground (although, as my Cannes buddy Simon Abrams told me, not without significant alternations), the film is nevertheless its director’s baby (and I don’t mean just the by-now-obligatory eye-stabbing). To borrow one of its own characters’ phrases, Cosmopolis is about “acquiring information and turning it into something stupendous and awful.” In other words, it’s about the world we construct for ourselves in our heads—as well as the perils inherent in the process. For all its talk of world economy, the movie pursues the same theme one of Cronenberg’s masterpieces did, which is to say that—just like in Spider—we’re once again sentenced for life to a solitary confinement within our minds and bodies.
This is the richest, wittiest, most stimulating material Cronenberg has had to work with in a decade – not for nothing is it his first self-scripted feature since “eXistenZ” – but it will take further viewing and consideration for this writer to decide if the finished film, briskly paced and unapologetically talky as it is, quite makes good on the opportunity. As it stands, the permanently on-message postulating of “Cosmopolis” proves a little wearing, though perhaps more so to jaded patrons on their tenth day of festival viewing. Cronenberg’s keenness to cram as many of DeLillo’s words into a script that amounts to little more than a sequence of ornate two-person conversates threatens inertia, but the film largely avoids dullness.
What’s most surprising is it’s the scenes within Packer’s limo (notably a febrile sex scene between Pattison and a luminously cameoing Juliette Binoche) that are tautest and most flammable. When the film ventures out onto the street, the energy – or, if not energy, the effectively slippery equivalent inherent in Pattinson’s compelling screen presence – dissipates. Longtime Cronenberg loyalist Peter Suchitzky’s camera certainly responds best to claustrophia, invasive too-close-ups and just-too-high angles lending the whole film the sense of a security surveillance tape from purgatory, matters made no less disconcerting by the compressed silent yawns of the sound design and the hovering insinuations of Howard Shore’s spare electro-influenced score, all of which recall smaller, nastier works from the director dating all the way back to “Stereo.” Even when we can’t quite decipher its message, there’s a hint of the didactic about “Cosmopolis” that speaks to its late place in the director’s canon; its emptily chaotic environment, however, is classic Cronenbergia creation, as invigoratingly and reassuringly strange as can be.
“Robert Pattinson shines in the new Cronenberg film”
David Cronenberg tackles the hottest topic of this era and stars the hottest movie star. “Cosmopolis” is an ironic and poignant glimpse onto the structures of capitalism and criticizes in a daring way the financial crisis. It could certainly be much hotter than it is after all. It could also be more “cinematic”, meaning that it could leave aside the more verbalistic approach and use more film solutions. For the times when it does, when the” essay” becomes pure cinema, the film takes off.
Robert Pattinson is amazing – he shines through the costume of a weird and grotesque role, he embodies difficult philosophical and political ideas, and he becomes an excellent vehicle for analyzing and understanding them.
The central character (Pattinson) is a millionaire who moves through New York in a luxurious limousine. He meets diverse people , has makes rampant sex with Juliette Binoche, tries to win the love of his wife, who he has just married by interest, and unnecessarily shoots his bodyguard on the head.
And mostly talks. He talks incessantly. It is one of the few times in a movie where the protagonist appears virtually in every shot of the film. He is present in all the details, balancing between delirium and political philosophy.
Cronenberg borrows from his masterpiece, «Crash» (1996), and his latest film, “A Dangerous Method ‘: ie analyzes eccentric situations (in this case the financial system and the structures of capitalism) using methods of psychoanalysis . The main hero – because everyone else are just his satellites – is a man unsympathetic, but who utters some of the most bold truths that can currently be heard.
The man who ultimately impresses is Pattinson. Apparently lost and not knowing exactly what his is playing, he managed to survive in a cinematic chaos of ideas and amazing pictures, and shine. Speaking earlier to reporters, he did not hesitate to say that he has no idea what is the character that he plays and did not understand what the movie really talks about. “Maybe,” he said, “he is someone who was born in the wrong reality.”
Impression, however, caused the role of Sarah Gadon, whom we saw five days before, in the film «Antiviral», by Cronenberg’ s son, Brandon. Besides the fact that the son imitated the cinematic style of his father (his film, however, had an interesting tone), they also shared the same actor.
In some cases the “Cosmopolis” reminded me of the last efforts of Wenders: cinema of big intentions, full of brilliant ideas, but ultimately not completed, and barely meets the level of difficulties of the scenario in order to become a movie. Cronenberg certainly remains one of the greatest filmmakers of our time. His artistic vision goes beyond the frame, while his ideas are always original and shocking.
It’s not the first time DeLillo has had his work on-screen, and it’s not the first time that Cronenberg has tackled a supposedly unfilmable novel. But there’s a satisfying synergy in the meshing of their themes and topics and means and methods, as Eric obsesses about getting to his favorite barber and about what’s happening to the global currency markets as his speculation on the rising Chinese Yuan is about to wipe out his fortune and his company.
The dialogue is rapid-fire, so much so that it leaves bullet holes. And as Eric goes across town in his ridiculous car — with the world coming to him in the form of business meetings, sexual liaisons and even doctor’s appointments in the back of the limo — we realize that Eric is the epitome of modern capitalism. The titans who make our world are small, broken people. And, interestingly enough, if you’re casting for a dead-eyed shark wreathed in unearned privilege, Pattinson turns out to be a pretty good choice.
There are other cast members who do an excellent idea of wrapping their heads around DeLillo’s big ideas and Cronenberg’s indirect dialogue — Juliette Binoche and Samantha Morton, Mathieu Almaric and Paul Giamatti — and the music, by Metric, supplies the right kind of spiky, sensuous unease for a man driven across town and driven to self-destruction. The film’s cynicism is both majestic and well-earned; at one point, Eric notes “… nobody hates the rich ,,, everybody thinks they’re ten seconds away from being rich.” A chilly, crisp and crystal-shard sharp satire of our money-crazed world, “Cosmopolis” takes us on a limo ride through the collapse of modern society: We’re not behind the wheel for this ride, but rest assured, in the end, we’re going to have to get out and pay for it.
Cosmopolis does prove that he has the chops, and he parlays his cult persona beautifully into the spoiled, demanding Packer, a man so controlling and ruthless that only he has the power to ruin himself. Lean and spiky – with his clean white shirt he resembles a groomed Sid Vicious – Pattinson nails a difficult part almost perfectly, recalling those great words of advice from West Side Story: You wanna live in this crazy world? Play it cool.
In David Cronenberg’s adaptation of Cosmopolis, a novel by post modern author Don DeLillo, the Canadian filmmaker tackles a dense criticism of capitalism, greed and class. Featuring an ensemble cast built on quick cameos, the film is anchored by a solid, ennui-filled performance by Robert Pattinson, shedding his Twilight skin for something more substantive and reminiscent of Christian Bale in American Pyscho.
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