Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Dark But Prescient "Cosmopolis"

A Dark and Gloomy Portrait of One-Percenters

Out Aug. 24, “Cosmopolis” was written before the current Occupy Wall Street ruckus. It was filmed by Canadian director David Cronenberg before the recent battle-of -classes clashes. It now seems prescient.
Cronenberg wrote a screenplay based on Don DeLillo’s 2003 novel and completed filming in July, 2011 in Toronto, Canada.
British actor Robert Pattinson, best known as Edward the vampire in the “Twilight” movies, plays Eric Packer, a 28-year-old financial genius in New York City.
The action, what little there is, largely occurs in Packer’s 30-foot stretch limousine attended by bodyguards, driver and stern guys with phones in their ears.
“I want a haircut,” Packer announces imperially. What he wants, he gets, no matter what is going on in the rest of the world
Eric is arrogant, cruel and ruthless; qualities which are an asset in business and particularly in the volatile currency trading market, which he keeps tabs on via flicking video screens.
“A rat became a unit of currency,” we are told at the outset. The rat in Eric’s case is the Japanese Yen. Eric has made a huge and reckless bet on the currency, and it will come back to bite him, so to speak, over the next few hours.
Rats are a recurring motif in “Cosmopolis.” Protesters carry dead rats. Some dress up like rats and some carry huge rat puppets.
In his long day’s journey into night in quest of haircut, Eric will get turned down for sex by his recently betrothed wife (icy Sarah Gadon). He will have wild and athletic limousine sex with his middle-aged mistress Didi (Juliette Binoche) and a visiting hooker. He will hail his financial advisor (Emily Hampshire) in the middle of her daily jog and demand a meeting then and there. Eric will even get a prostate exam from his doctor in the limo as the outside world boils and protesters trash and spray-paint the white limo.
Eric is detached, deadpan and soulless; qualities which Robert Pattinson is adept at conveying. It is almost as if he needs to experience pain to feel anything. He ultimately will, but the viewer will not feel sorry for him.
There is very little to like, admire or embrace about “Cosmopolis.” If you are one of the angry 99-percenters, this film will confirm your opinion about selfish, greedy, mendacious bankers and titans of Wall Street. I don’t think Cronenberg intended us to like this dark vision of corporate capitalism run amok. I think he wanted us to feel disgust. Consider yourself forewarned.

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