Cosmopolis feels like a long drive to nowhere
Directed by David Cronenberg. Starring Robert Pattinson and Samantha Morton. Rated 14A.
It shouldn’t take a limo ride with Gordon Gekko to tell you that greed is bad. Of course, with Cosmopolis being director David Cronenberg’s take on novelist Don DeLillo, that’s not the only message here. Still, the movie feels like a long drive to nowhere.
This particular Gekko is a Wall Street wunderkind called Eric Packer and played with vampirical sullenness by Robert Pattinson (who replaced Colin Farrell in the role). This latter-day Borgia, sitting on billions made with his high-tech investment formulae, wants to cross town for a noticeably unneeded haircut. And he’s not going to let little things like a presidential visit or a sudden drop in the Chinese yuan keep him at his desk.
As his bulletproof, cork-lined, gadget-filled limo inches its way through an increasingly surrealistic Manhattan, Packer opens his door for brief meetings. Among others, he parries with his digital-security chief (Jay Baruchel), a top financial advisor (Emily Hampshire), his head of “theory” (Samantha Morton), and several sex partners, including one played by Juliette Binoche.
Despite these preoccupations, plus some on-the-go proctology, he keeps bumping into his new bride (Sarah Gadon). She has breakfast and lunch with him but doesn’t sign on for the full-meal deal. Who knows what is actually wanted by these people—symbolic caricatures might be more accurate—since they speak only in circular, riddle-ridden phrases.
This is the first attempt to translate the cryptic, conspiracy-mad DeLillo to moviedom, and you can see why. Despite considerable screen polish and frequent changes in location and tone (Howard Shore’s quietly jangly score helps), the results come off like a collegiate theatre company doing Samuel Beckett without knowing the stuff is supposed to be funny. If nothing else, Cosmopolis proves the old adage that a Paul Giamatti, if glimpsed in the first act, is bound to go off in the third.
Watch the trailer for Cosmopolis.