Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
Empire's New Tom Cruise Cover
The Jameson Empire Awards 2014
Vote: The Greatest 301 Movies Of All Time!
Rebecca Hall:
My Movie Life

The actress picks the movies that shaped her
Mountain Dew Green Screen
Register Now to see X-MEN First Class!
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 (432)

Under The Radar (317)

Infinite Lives (92)

Small Screen (56)

Words From The Wise (33)

Cannes 2011 (28)

Off The Wire (24)

Comic-Con 2010 (21)

Casting Couch (2)

Oscars 2011 (1)


BLOGGERS
Damon Wise (295)
Helen O'Hara (166)
James Dyer (85)
Amar Vijay (71)
Ali Plumb (54)
James White (28)
Phil de Semlyen (19)
Owen Williams (15)
Ally Wybrew (2)
Ben Kirby (1)
David Parkinson (1)


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
The Making Of Locke: A Filmmaker's Journey
Steven Knight takes us through six pitstops (via Heston Services)

The 10 Most Exciting Movies At Cannes 2014
Empire's pick of the Croisette's finest

Tom Hardy: A Viewer's Guide
The essential, the recommended, the one for the fans... and the one to avoid

Ten Things To Know About The Spooks Movie
Under the hood of The Greater Good

Who’s In Spider-Man’s Sinister Six?
A bluffer’s guide to the planned spin-off from the Amazing Spider-films

14 YouTube Videos Every Game Of Thrones Fan Should Have Watched By Now
From goats singing the theme tune to every death in under three minutes

Hollywood's Biggest Names On Their Favourite Films
Stars and directors like Nolan, Whedon, Wright and Ford on the films that inspire them

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save money on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get Limited Edition Collectable X-Men Art Cards

Subscribe today and get 6 issues of Empire plus a set of collectable X-Men Art Cards for only £20!

Subscribe today

Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Just £25
Receive limited edition subscribers-only covers every month 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  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)