Saturday, January 12, 2013

Penny Thoughts ‘13—Cosmopolis (2012) **

R, 109 min.
Director: David Cronenberg
Writers: David Cronenberg, Don DeLillo (novel)
Starring: Robert Pattinson, Sarah Gadon, Paul Giamatti, Kevin Durand, Abdul Ayoola, Juliette Binoche, Emily Hampshire, Bob Bainborough, Samantha Morton, Zeljko Kecojevic, Jay Baruchel, Philip Nozuka, Mathieu Amalric

“Cosmopolis” is another of David Cronenberg’s dense explorations into the complexities of a challenging man. In this case, he is a young billionaire who rides in his limousine across Manhattan for a hair cut. That sounds like a simple enough plot, but the complexities of just that notion suggests the density of the material.

His journey across the city is hindered by a visit to the city by the President. Several people cross his path along the way, ex lovers, business associates, employees, and ultimately a man who wants to kill him. As a work of Cronenberg’s none of these people operate on normal social terms. Most people enter the limo, although he does exit his vehicle a few times. The whole thing feels like an exercise in quirkiness and limo leather rather than an attempt to tell a genuine story.

The biggest problem with this exercise, however, is its tediousness. It’s dreary and unnecessarily impenetrable. Perhaps, it isn’t really that opaque, but I found it hard to care enough about any of the characters, least of all the hero, to even try to figure out it’s meaning or purpose. I like some of Cronenberg’s work. Those I don’t enjoy are the ones where he seems to lose himself in the material. In “Cosmopolis”, I’m not even convinced he had a clear trajectory to begin with.

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