I enjoyed Cronenberg’s 1999 film eXistenZ, and even his body horror films such as The Fly are memorable, but in recent years his films have done nothing but completely alienate me. Cosmopolis is absolutely no different.
Robert Pattinson (yes, I’ve now watched a film with him in it!) is a young, super wealthy individual who by choice lives locked away from public view, seen here from the perspective of inside his technologically brimming limousine. This is by necessity too though; riots are raging on the streets, the lower class are rebelling against the super rich, and Pattinson’s Eric Parker must be permanently shielded as he… goes to get his hair cut?
There are people waving dead rats, disjointed conversations with random people associated with Parker who drop into his limo, random violence, random sex and inhuman dialogue. Yep, its Cronenberg back on his current trend!
Now I get the subtext of the film, or subtexts; since the film’s many neo-noir, stilted dialogues address a multitude of social, economical and financial struggles that are running rampant outside of Pattinson’s limo (and symbolically, addressing our own future and our sheltering from it). The film addresses all of these things as it proceeds slowly, getting Pattinson to talk to these different people who literally come and go with little or no context until after the fact. This makes the film incredibly hard to watch for many viewers, without doubt.
I usually like films that limit their scope to a singular perspective like this, leaving the world outside to the imagination and we see a clear representation of its effects on a few individuals… but here the dialogue is just so cumbersome and disjointed! One minute we are talking about hair cuts, then its rats, then its some philosophical unraveling of power struggles… followed by prostates.
I… I am sure there’s more to be understood with subsequent viewings, but from what I can gather from just one is that I don’t need to; it is fairly clear what the messages are, and they are valid and important ones… but I can’t stand them being presented in such a bizarre, blunderbuss fashion. There’s so many varied subtexts with every single encounter that the film lacks cohesion. Yet maybe even that stylistic choice is in itself a metaphor!
I can’t recommend it to people, unless they are big Cronenberg fans already. If you are a Robert Pattinson fan for… reasons unspeakable… you should avoid it, but if you do watch it, prepare your brain for some scatter-gun storytelling without much payoff.