Friday, 29 June 2012

Film Review: Cosmopolis

As a big fan of David Cronenberg and an even bigger fan of Don DeLillo I was certainly looking forward to this adaptation of DeLillo's lesser known 2003 novel. Deciding to adapt a novel that was released to a lukewarm reception amongst critics is a brave move on the part of Cronenberg, especially when the narrative takes place inside a limousine all on the same day and is mostly made up of dialogue between the protagonist and a cast of supporting characters who he encounters on his way to a barber shop across town.

Robert Pattison plays the protagonist in question, Eric Packer, a 28 year old billionaire whose intelligence is matched only by his equally nurtured ego. Pattison plays the character to chilling perfection, conducting all of his business from the back of his cork-lined soundproof high tech vehichle, with its multiple display panels plotting every second of the global financial market's movements. Trailed closely by his head of security, Torval, Packer meets with a plethora of his advisors, employees and concubines as he is driven through Manhatten to have his hair cut at the same barber shop where his father took him as a child. Packer's journey is hindered by traffic due to a presidential visit, anti-capitalist protests and the funeral procession of an influential rapper. In between all of this he meets repeatedly with his wife, a poet who comes from an excessively wealthy family, whom he still hasn't slept with.

Cronenberg provides the perfect directorial match to DeLillo's material, sinking his claws into the dense and darkly comic satire and transferring to the screen with great care much of the details and observations of DeLillo's examination and parody of greed, wealth and modern America. The films operates as a sociological tragic comedy, focusing on the influence of power and money and the divide between the wealthy and working classes. It's certainly pertinent to the current socio-political climate,  DeLillo has been frighteningly prophetic and insightful with a great majority of his material and Cronenberg seems to be completely engrossed with the critique, inserting just the right amount of existential angst to provoke introspective thought without overshadowing the satire. This isn't a film for everyone, the humour is far from broad and the dialogue is very calculated, but for those who like to keep their brains switched on during a film or for any fans of DeLillo or dark American satire this is a must-see.

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