COSMOPOLIS is the journey of a young millionaire, Eric Packer, as he travels across the city determined to get his hair cut. He learns that someone is trying to kill him, but this just one of many realisations that come to him through the people that he meets during the day.
Set primarily inside Packer’s limousine, which is stuck in traffic, the initial concept of the film works well. He is caught, unable to escape the demons that confront him through the people he meets. Beyond that idea, unfortunately, the film loses its way and slowly falls flat.
The surrealist approach allows COSMOPOLIS to take liberties: not only elements such as questionable special effects, where there needn’t be effects at all, but an incoherent structure that meanders endlessly through time and location. The dialogue is cryptic, monotone and pretentious. Random conversations with a streaming line of famous cameos, including Juliette Binoche and Paul Giamatti, become indecipherable and forgettable after the first half an hour. The unnatural language used detaches the voice from the humanity in the character, and no-one seems quite real.
An attempt at exploring deeper meanings and insights into capitalism is lost in the sheer number of characters and discourse.
It is true that one could pull from it the heartless nature of capitalism, the robotic behaviour of the elite and the ease with which the money-makers glide through life. The character’s journey to get his hair cut is a subconscious effort to return to his roots, his simpler past. The potential killer talks in a normal fashion, in contrast to that of the rest of the characters, which underlines the class distinctions of this world. Unfortunately, whatever the reasons and motives behind the filmmaking, they don’t make the film any more watchable, and eventually it becomes tiresome. An attempt at exploring deeper meanings and insights into capitalism is lost in the sheer number of characters and discourse. This is not a new discussion or subject, and the film begins nothing fresh to the table.
As Packer, on the other hand, Robert Pattinson delivers a surprisingly weighty and admirable performance, which is a far cry from his previous incarnations as a vampire. However, the teenage girls will probably be frowning in confusion rather than screaming this time.
What could have been an abstract WALL STREET for the new generation becomes a thick, concrete jungle of good ideas, in which the audience simply get lost and want to go home.
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