Review: COSMOPOLIS (2012) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Review: COSMOPOLIS (2012)

Talky movies are always hard to pull off, especially those which deals with complex or dense subject matter. To make them interesting, it's always important to engage the viewers with captivating performance(s) and strong dialogues. This is no doubt a difficult test for director David Cronenberg. He's hardly known as a director who relies heavily on dialogue to tell his story. Actually he did attempt such approach before in last year's A DANGEROUS METHOD, but he failed miserably with his static direction. This time, he hits an all-time low in COSMOPOLIS -- a lifeless and painfully boring motion picture that even a die-hard arthouse fans might find this a monumental waste of time.

Based on Don DeLillo's novel of the same name, the movie centers on a 28-year-old billionaire named Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson) who wants a haircut from his father's old barber. Even though his head of security, Torval (Kevin Durand) has warned him about the streets are currently jammed due to a visit by the President of the United States, an anti-capitalism riot and a funeral march of a famous hip-hop star, Packer insists on going ahead no matter what. And so he hops on his stretch limo and begins his long-winded journey. En route, he finds himself in a series of complications and meet some of the peoples he knows including his colleague Shiner (Jay Baruchel), distant wife Elise (Sarah Gadon), mistress Didi Fancher (Juliette Binoche), financial advisor Vija Kinsky (Samantha Morton) and many others. As the world is slowly collapsing around him, Packer eventually finds himself face to face with his own destined assassin, Benno Levin (Paul Giamatti).

Judging from the source material and especially the trailer that promotes the movie, it looks as if die-hard fans are in a treat for the good old David Cronenberg's bizarre trademark. Unfortunately what is shown in the entire movie is a different story altogether. Despite its timely plot that touches on the current financial crisis and many other topical subject matters, Cronenberg's adapted screenplay is all heavy dialogue but no substance. Seriously, this movie is a very frustrating movie to watch for. Characters are spend all the time talking, talking and talking but everything wanders around in the same circle aimlessly. The pace is so awfully slow to a standstill, that its 109-minute running time seems like forever.

No doubt David Cronenberg's typically cold direction doesn't fit well for this kind of talky movie. He's clearly out of his element here. Meanwhile, lead actor Robert Pattinson is fatally miscast as well. Originally intended for Colin Farrell (really?) but forced to withdraw because of scheduling conflicts, Pattinson's performance is as wooden as a piece of plank. There's hardly any personality behind his dead-eyed expression that makes him at least a worthwhile character to pay attention for. If Pattinson fares the worst, same goes to the supporting actors as well. Even with the presence of some highly-reliable actors like Juliette Binoche, Samantha Morton and Paul Giamatti, their performances are as uninteresting as they goes.

Visually, Cronenberg does insert a few moments of violence and strong sexual contents, but they are all gratuitous and feels patchy altogether.

Ultimately, I understand that Cronenberg tries to make a lot of statements here but unfortunately, the message doesn't get across. It's the kind of movie that drags on and on, but doesn't accomplish a single thing. Easily one of the worst movies of all-time.

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