'Cosmopolis' is a steely bore
"Cosmopolis," based on the 2003 Don DeLillo novel and directed by David Cronenberg, is a long, strange, cold film utterly lacking in emotion, writes Seattle Times movie critic Moira Macdonald in this review. The film stars Robert Pattinson, Samantha Morton, Paul Giamatti and Juliette Binoche. It's playing at several Seattle-area theaters.
Seattle Times movie critic
'Cosmopolis,' with Robert Pattinson, Samantha Morton, Paul Giamatti, Juliette Binoche, Sarah Gadon, Mathieu Amalric, Jay Baruchel. Written and directed by David Cronenberg, based on the novel by Don DeLillo. 109 minutes. Rated R for some strong sexual content including graphic nudity, violence and language. Several theaters.
David Cronenberg's austere "Cosmopolis" begins with a close-up of the grinning grille of a dark limousine; enjoy it, because it's the closest thing to emotion that you're going to get for most of this long, strange film. Based on Don DeLillo's futuristic 2003 novel (Cronenberg's adaptation uses much dialogue straight from the book), it follows a young billionaire named Eric (Robert Pattinson) through a day in contemporary New York, mostly inside that limousine. He gets a haircut, discusses world finance, has sex (twice), gets a prostate exam (yes, in the limo), eats at a diner, encounters rioters and mysterious "rat guys" and contemplates, up close, life and death.
Pattinson, honed through years of "Twilight" impassivity, is a whiz at above-it-all sneering — but "Cosmopolis," because of its allegiance to the book's mannered, offbeat language, feels like it never wakes up. Its characters recite their lines as if reading blank verse ("Life is too contemporary," intones one); you wonder if everything they say is a metaphor. Maybe it is, but eventually the movie's grim, shiny lifelessness leaves you not caring. Its characters seem zombied-out — intentionally, to be sure — and its message muddled.
Late in the film, Paul Giamatti shows up and suddenly something real seems to be happening — his mood of quiet, smoothed-over tragedy hints at a story we weren't told — but it's too late. "Cosmopolis" is certainly ambitious and slick (that eerily quiet limo interior is a remarkable high-tech womb), but it leaves its audience colder than a vampire's gaze.
Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or email@example.com