Wednesday, August 29, 2012
"Cosmopolis": Cronenberg's fantasy of the idle rich in an "Occupied" (Canadian) Gotham
David Cronenberg likes to tease and puzzle us, and there’s a certain affiliation with the work of David Lynch, particularly in Cronenberg’s latest meditation on morality, “Cosmopolis”, based on a novel by Don DeLillo.
Robert Pattinson plays Eric Packer, a financial asset manager who certain is in the Top One Percent with no sense of purpose at all. In a typical day in the City (Cronenberg makes Toronto look a bit like Christopher Nolan’s version of Gotham), Eric rides his white stretch limo to a belated haircut, but only after dealing with a cast of bizarre characters (maybe out of Terry Gilliam) who could take him down.
He looks fit enough, even in his business suit. Pretty soon, he takes pieces of it off, particularly for his daily medical checkup, which includes an echocardiogram (and electrocardiograph) accomplished with difficulty by “the doctor” across his hairy chest. There’s even a hidden pot in the urinal (for number 1 and number 2, both).
Oh, yes, the Occupy protesters find him, and trash up his limo, along the way. The movie has some yard signs saying that capitalism must go.
Eric starts to go down the “real” moral dark side at a critical point, once he gets a chance to play with weapons. The final confrontation with Benno (Paul Giamatti) is appropriately apocalyptic if also talky. The whole movie is a bit like a stage play (despite its $20 million budget, to pay A-list stars who make appearances, including Jay Baruchel, Samantha Morton, as well as co-star Juliette Binoche.
There’s an odd reference to the music of Erik Satie in the script, but I didn’t hear it played.
The official site is here.
I saw the film, distributed by E-1, at the Landmark E-Street in Washington in a large auditorium before a small Wednesday evening (early) crowd.
For today’s short film, see my “Retirement Blog” Aug. 28 for AARP’s “Understanding 401(k) Fees” (3 Min.)