Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Future Of Film
The 100 Greatest Video Games
The Making Of The West Wing
Subscribe To Empire Today
Save money and get 12 issues for only £25
Go Think Big
Helping young people achieve their career dreams
Empire Blogs
Under The Radar

Back to all blogs Comment Now

Cannes 2012: Cosmopolis

Posted on Friday May 25, 2012, 10:55 by Damon Wise in Under The Radar
Cannes 2012: Cosmopolis

Somehow David Cronenberg's Cosmopolis articulates everything I think about post-financial crisis capitalism, ie, the world today. It goes without saying that it is weird, but even from the director of eXistenZ and Videodrome it is bizarre, with the mannered, affected performances of the former and the outsider characters of the latter. It doesn't quite fit with the early body-horror movies but there is, like A Dangerous Method, a viral metaphor at play here, and this time the virus is not free thought but the free economy (towards the end of the movie, Robert Pattinson's vampiric playboy comments that “nobody hates the rich, everybody thinks they're ten seconds away from being rich”). But what is money? Is it the dollar? The baht? The dong? Could it be a rat? A live rat, a pregnant rat or a dead rat? What does money even mean?

Cronenberg's cool, intelligent film asks all these questions – literally – and more, then goes even further, asking: what does meaning mean? Seriously. Even by the director's lofty standards this is a talky film, and most of it goes round in circles. As promised, it concerns a limo ride to get a haircut, but Cosmopolis – based (to what extent I have yet to find out) on Don DeLillo's novel – is a surprisingly roomy affair, and not simply a one-set gimmick. In some senses it resembles Godard's Weekend, since the traffic is terrible and civilisation seems to be crumbling outside it, but this will also play well to genre fans and is definitely one of Cronenberg's most ambitious movies to date.

For Robert Pattinson, however, this is another league, and his celebrity status certainly suits the part. He plays Eric Packer, son of a super-rich businessman, a society kid who has made his fortune with mysterious dotcoms and by playing the money markets. Today he is betting against the yuan and losing hundreds of millions of dollars in the process. The inside of the limo glows with LED screens, and Eric is joined by a roundelay of guest stars (including a very slinky Juliette Binoche and, more surprisingly, an edgy Samantha Morton) who engage him in bizarre, solipsistic conversations. These talks border on self-parody but somehow they work. It reminded me of Roy Andersson's wonderful Songs From The Second Floor, since this is what the end of the world probably would sound like. Though the budget is clearly quite low, Cronenberg does convincingly convey a sense of apocalyptic doom, from his characters' psychotic babble (at one point Eric is attacked by the custard-pie wielding Pastry Assassin) to a full-on riot that covers the pristine car in spraypaint and anti-capitalist graffiti.

The stylised nature of the language will limit this film's appeal, and its self-conscious craziness might also be testing to some (why does the professional barber Eric finally visits cut huge steps in his hair?). And after Water For Elephants it remains to be seen whether Pattinson's teen following really is willing to follow him anywhere. But Cosmopolis does prove that he has the chops, and he parlays his cult persona beautifully into the spoiled, demanding Packer, a man so controlling and ruthless that only he has the power to ruin himself. Lean and spiky – with his clean white shirt he resembles a groomed Sid Vicious – Pattinson nails a difficult part almost perfectly, recalling those great words of advice from West Side Story: You wanna live in this crazy world? Play it cool.


Login or register to comment.

Comments

1 BazVanderClap
Posted on Friday May 25, 2012, 12:20
Cannae wait for this one

Log in below, or register to post comments
Username:
Password:
Remember Me:

CATEGORIES

Empire States (440)

Under The Radar (323)

Infinite Lives (92)

Small Screen (57)

Words From The Wise (35)

Cannes 2011 (28)

Off The Wire (24)

Comic-Con 2010 (21)

Casting Couch (2)

Oscars 2011 (1)


BLOGGERS
Damon Wise (297)
Helen O'Hara (181)
James Dyer (86)
Amar Vijay (71)
Ali Plumb (56)
James White (29)
Phil de Semlyen (20)
Owen Williams (15)
Simon Braund (6)
Ally Wybrew (2)
Ben Kirby (1)
Dan Jolin (1)
Ian Nathan (1)
David Parkinson (1)

SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
The Empire Podcast #133: Robert Duvall, Anna Faris And James Marsden Interviews
Plus the team discuss the latest news on the upcoming DC and Marvel movies

Documentaries: What Happened Next
We track down and interview the stars of great non-fiction films

Movie Poster Mashups: Sean Bean Edition
You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll be appalled at the punning...

Your Introductory Guide To That DC Movie Slate
Suicide Squad? Cyborg? Aquaman? We explain who’s who in the DC Universe

Video Interviews: Megan Fox And Will Arnett Talk Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Plus the director and producers on the tone of their new turtle flick

Captain America 3, Iron Man And Civil War: Where Next For The Marvel Cinematic Universe?
What to make of today's Marvel news

Interactive Gallery: Explore Iconic Movie Spacesuits
Explore the fabric of space-time

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Only £25!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save money on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 12 issues of Empire for just £25!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)