On the eve of the premiere in Toronto, we wanted to highlight some of the best reviews that hit online for the “diamond-hard and dazzlingly brilliant” Cosmopolis.
From London Free Press:
Cosmopolis will certainly baffle some, bore others. I cannot imagine what Twihards will think. But it is intelligent and stylish cinema, an antidote to the time-wasters than occupy so many theatres during the silly summer season.
Pattinson’s Eric serves as the viewer’s eyes and ears throughout this world. We’re seeing the world exactly as he sees it and not how it actually is since there isn’t a single scene in the film that Pattinson isn’t in. It’s the true starmaking performance that the actor has probably long hoped for and he carries the film wonderfully.
The arguments will be made back and forth that the film still isn’t a “return to form” for the director or that it’s a masterpiece that will be heralded for its prescient nature given the current state of the global economy, but what makes Cosmopolis brilliant in its own way is that none of those arguments matter when the film itself is allowed to be scrutinized on its own merits. It’s a hard and challenging film for casual viewers to ever hope to have in “in” with, but for those willing to follow along and let the film wash over them in the same way a great book can take over the imagination, Cosmopolis is a heck of a ride. It’s an impossible film to sum up with a full critical analysis in less than 1,000 words, but it will lead to some great discussions amongst those who see it.
From NOW Toronto:
The result is more interesting as an intellectual experience than as entertainment; you watch Cosmopolis fully aware that it wants to be deconstructed rather than enjoyed.
It’s the coming together of source, director and star with a relevance that rarely occurs in cinema.
From Little White Lies:
It’s a richly verbose film, even more so than his majestic, 2011 exploration of extreme emotional repression, A Dangerous Method. It gets to the point where much of what is spoken cannot be fathomed – “talent is more erotic when it’s wasted” – but the film is about the rhythms of dialogue, the verbal posturing, sparring and deceptions employed in the economic sector.
The way in which Cronenberg photographs the talk, too, is subtle, elegant and intense without ever drawing undue attention to itself or feeling overly oppressive. Per Cronenberg himself, this is a film in which “fantastic faces say fantastic words”.
Pattinson totally kills the role. He’s dismissive and elitist, yet also dripping with charisma and downright swagger. He manages to display an old, rumbling rage under surface, and he does all this barely moving a muscle. He is to evil understatement what Nic Cage is to shouty mega-acting. At the end of the film… it’s absolutely devastating.
From Movie City News:
David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis is a complex and incredibly nuanced film that adapts its source material handily, representing Don DeLillo’s novel with cinematic specificity and Cronenbergian methodology. Multiple viewings will be required to fully grapple (and perhaps enjoy) the result, but the film’s incredible dialogue and insightful rhetoric will challenge audiences in the best way.
While Cosmopolis is satirical, it’s better described as a dark elucidation of modern society. Both the film and the novel are absurd because of the way certain characters speak and act, but what’s depicted isn’t all that farfetched. In fact, there’s nothing overtly science fiction about how Eric Packer lives his life or how his world functions, which makes the result of this story all the more interesting.
From Ain’t It Cool:
It took me a little while to get into sync with the film, but when I did was captivated. Especially when we get to the Paul Giamatti stuff. Good God he’s great in this film. Like Academy Awards good. I can see the clip they’d play at the awards (if they still do that anymore), too. I was onboard by the time he comes around, but if I wasn’t I guarantee his performance in the movie would have pushed me over into “okay, you got me” territory.
From Telegraph, giving the film 4 out of 5 stars:
Cosmopolis picks up on and runs with all three of the central themes that have emerged over the last 11 days of the Festival: our response to chaos; the collapse of the era of excess; and the terror, and comedy, of death. It could almost be a bizarro prequel to Leos Carax’s Holy Motors, another film in which a limo ride becomes an odyssey. At its heart is a sensational central performance from Robert Pattinson – yes, that Robert Pattinson – as Packer. Pattinson plays him like a human caldera; stony on the surface, with volcanic chambers of nervous energy and self-loathing churning deep below.
From Slant magazine:
Taking on another “unfilmable” novel, Cronenberg again accomplishes something remarkable: hewing closely to the source material in letter and spirit, yet still stamping it as a distinctly Cronenbergian endeavor, albeit one lacking much in the way of his trademark body horror (with one notable, bloody exception). Diamond-hard and dazzlingly brilliant, Cosmopolis alternates between mannered repression and cold frenzy, one of the ways in which it most closely resembles Cronenberg’s prior A Dangerous Method.
From the AVClub:
The more abstract and overtly stylized Cosmopolis is, the more it thrills, as in a lengthy discussion between Packer and his “chief of theory,” Samantha Morton, in which they never acknowledge that the limo is being assaulted by protesters to the point where it’s threatening to tip over.
As Eric, the brooding Pattinson eroticizes every move, glance and revolver-spin. Travis Bickle is gliding beneath his dead stare
Cronenberg has dreamed up another world where logic and ideology are nil. With his latest effort, the auteur surveys all of his fetishes and packs them into one slick, streamlined movie.
From Toronto Sun:
Cosmopolis could be described as a blockbuster of the mind, fascinating as much for what the Toronto director shows us as for what he chooses not to.
Cosmopolis is the work of a master filmmaker, one who is determined to have us think about the ideas packed into the trunk of this limo bound for the furthest corners of the psyche.
From IBTimes ’5 Films Destine for Post-Cannes Popularity:
Cosmopolis: Touted as “The first film about the new millennium,” David Cronenberg’s adaptation of Don DeLillo’s satirical novel of the same name is an artful critique of modern day power and corruption. Protest scenes may be likened to the Occupy Wall Street movement while the treat of economic collapse clearly parallel’s reality. The plot centers on Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson), a 28-year-old billionaire, who insists on taking his extravagant limo across Manhattan to have his hair cut. As the high-tech vehicle slowly cruises through the city, a gaggle of characters (clearly archetypes) enter his resilient cocoon.
Though Cronenberg is known for boundary-pushing films, such as “The Fly” and “Naked Lunch” and “Crash”, his catalog also includes the thoughtful adaptation of “M. Butterfly” as well as last year’s “A Dangerous Method”. “Cosmopolis” is seldom violent. The lyrical dialogue gives the film a theatrical feel and the words cut deeper than representations of physical brutality.
Pattinson exudes confidence and a suave demeanor while exhibiting desolation and paranoia. His shockingly rich performance was one of the biggest surprises at the festival. His visceral delivery of DeLillo’s astute language is jarring and even sexy.
Post-Cannes Appeal: Both Cronenberg and Pattinson have a legion of supporters that have been anticipating “Cosmopolis” for a year. Pattinson’s work in the film has stunned critics who doubted his capabilities as an actor. The film is bound for cult status and the love it or hate in reception at Cannes assure that it’s difficult to ignore.
4 out of 5 stars from Cinemart:
Pattinson has made a very conscious choice to direct his acting career away from the Twilight franchise and squarely in that of renowned directors and more complicated material. He pulls this off to great effect as the film leaves its leading man nowhere to hide in regards to his acting ability and screen presence. With unabashed sexual scenes, welding a handgun and one character confirming his actual real eye colour, this is Robert Pattinson’s acting manifesto and it builds on the promise he has shown with characters not given the same range as found in Eric Packer.
Cosmopolis is not going to be for everyone. It is not a relaxing Friday night movie and does have a tendency to lag by the beginning of the third act, though does redeem itself in the final scenes. When the Cronenbergian violence does come it’s a relief, if not an antidote, to all the intricate multi-layered conversations that have preceded it. Love it or hate it, Cosmopolis is going to create a reaction and likely a source of many university film studies papers.
COSMOPOLIS is evidence of a director pouring his intellect and soul into a film that is even colder, more calculated, impenetrable and alien than any other genre film he has ever attempted before. It makes RABID look like an episode of YO GABBA GABBA. It makes the psychological miasma of SPIDER seem like THE BIG BANG THEORY, the sex/car weirdness of CRASH play like SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT. It’s a difficult film to like, and demands its audience immerse itself in its insect-like intellect and quietly unfolding, aloof narrative. It most certainly is a difficult film, but for serious fans and scholars of the director’s unique and unwavering world view, it is both essential and immensely rewarding.
The film is as polished and great-looking as can be expected. Cronenberg responds well to his main actor, fitting him out in a suit that becomes a little wrecked by the end, and filming him in close-ups with harsh lighting. There are plenty of great shots — Pattinson in close-up, lit by the fluorescent white tracking light of a gun, for instance. The cinematography excellently captures the sense of modern alienation, showing the city in all of its strangeness and dehumanizing state. All of the sets are beautifully designed, from the interior of Pattinson’s limo to the grim cityscape in the last few scenes.
From CritqueConnection (French review):
David Cronenberg continues to be fascinating.
“I’m hungry for something thick and juicy,” growls Robert Pattinson at the start of Cosmopolis, and one can imagine Pattinson issuing the same order to his agents after years spent sinking his vampire teeth into wan Twilight flicks. His team earned their keep by landing Pattinson this David Cronenberg–directed movie and a berth at Cannes (where Kristen Stewart’s On the Road premiered just a few days before). And yes, he’s good in it.
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