Business meetings, sexual encounters and a prostrate exam all in one day… all of it happened inside a young billionaire’s limousine on his way to his favorite barber shop while stuck in a traffic jam. Cosmopolis, directed by David Cronenberg, is a movie that requires a lot of the viewer’s attention and not just to drool over Robert Pattinson’s pretty face. I am going to do my best to break down this movie for all of you, spoiler free.
The Scenery: Although the movie mostly took place inside Eric Packer’s (Robert Pattinson) limousine, there is a subtle but great sense of the outside world. I don’t remember if the year was determined for this movie but I felt there was something futuristic and almost post-apocalyptic in a way about this world. It was particularly interesting how the scenery outside is viewed through the limo’s windows and they are often just quick glimpses of the action outside. It was a very artistic approach to establishing the setting that was usually related to the conversation happening inside the car.
The Story: I found it a bit hard to follow but maybe I wasn’t in the mood to watch a film that required your utmost concentration. I am going to copy and paste the synopsis from the film’s website instead:
New York City, not-too-distant-future: Eric Packer, a 28 year-old finance golden boy dreaming of living in a civilization ahead of this one, watches a dark shadow cast over the firmament of the Wall Street galaxy, of which he is the uncontested king. As he is chauffeured across midtown Manhattan to get a haircut at his father’s old barber, his anxious eyes are glued to the yuan’s exchange rate: it is mounting against all expectations, destroying Eric’s bet against it. Eric Packer is losing his empire with every tick of the clock. Meanwhile, an eruption of wild activity unfolds in the city’s streets. Petrified as the threats of the real world infringe upon his cloud of virtual convictions, his paranoia intensifies during the course of his 24-hour cross-town odyssey.
Packer starts to piece together clues that lead him to a most terrifying secret: his imminent assassination.
The movie was definitely psychological and somewhat haunting — very surreal and tense.
The Acting: There was a definite choice on acting style. For me, I felt that it was like watching actors on a stage play. Pattinson excelled in the cold and terse delivery of his lines (insert sarcastic Twilight remark here), almost lacking emotional connection to the dialogue a lot of times. It was definitely an interesting choice and I felt that it gave the characters a touch of apathy that the real world seem to be moving towards in the future. The scene that stood out for me was when Packer was having a conversation with a woman inside his limo while a protest was happening outside. We see Packer’s bodyguards taking down the violent protestors, but to no avail as they proceeded to graffiti and shake the limo.
Despite the violent commotion, Packer didn’t seem to take notice of it, giving his full attention to the woman and what she was saying. It had a different effect on me because I couldn’t process the conversation happening in the foreground and was distracted by the action outside the car instead.
This movie was interesting and I recommend it to people with an artistic taste in film who wants to be challenged psychologically. For example, you are left wondering what is wrong with Packer’s wife and why does she refuse him sex? It is definitely a film that would make you feel uncomfortable at a lot of scenes but will keep you wondering.
The blu-ray and DVD release is set for January 1st, 2013.