Thursday, September 27, 2012

Cosmopolis (Rhoades)

Cronenberg Takes
You For a Ride
In “Cosmopolis

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

Wall Streeters are the new movie villains. There was a time when Russians were the bad guys in films. But despite a certain political candidate’s assertions about the continued villainy of Moscow, movies have found an “enemy” much closer to home – stock traders and hedge fund managers, those thinly disguised Bernie Madoffs and Michael Milkens that are perceived as greedy wreckers of our economy.
You’ve seen the return of Gordon Grekko in “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” and you’ve met Robert Miller, the bad guy you kinda rooted for in “Arbitrage.” Now meet Eric Packer, a 28-year-old billionaire asset manager who just wants to get a haircut from his favorite barber.
Robert Pattinson (star of those “Twilight” movies) takes on the role of Packer, a wealthy Wall Streeter who is out of touch with humanity as he sits in the back of a white limousine, fiddling with big-money numbers, driving around Manhattan looking for that elusive haircut. In the protective bubble of the limo, he’s isolated from the world, just as he’s intellectually and emotionally isolated from the realities of life.
His odyssey is interrupted by a presidential motorcade, a funeral procession, and an anti-one-percenter riot. Along the way he has several chance meetings and sexual encounters, all the while being stalked by a “pastry assassin” (remember Rupert Murdock’s pie-in-the-face brouhaha) and by a vengeful former employee. Betting against the yen, our Master of the Universe almost gleefully faces his own ruination.
A cold, alienated sociopath, Parker will remind you of Patrick Bateman in “American Psycho.” Yes, things get bloody.
An odd, offbeat movie – it’s directed by David Cronenberg, so what do you expect? – one moviegoer described it as being “like an American version of a French art film.” Another declared, “This is a very profound and insightful film.” Still others say “The film builds absolutely no momentum at all” and “I loved it, but it won’t be for everyone.”
Not a lot of things happen,” admits another movie buff. But adds, “It is demanding for the audience, yes, but every line of dialogue suggests, every line holds a meaning.”
This is pure Cronenberg, commenting on society through the intellectual interior of his characters. In this case, a society veering astray due to its focus on money and information. A fairly bleak viewpoint, by any interpretation.
Based on a novel by Don DeLillo, you eggheads out there will recognize “Cosmopolis” as a modern-day reinterpretation of James Joyce’s “Ulysses,” set in New York around the time of the collapse of the dot-com bubble in the year 2000. Originally criticized for its tone (John Updike didn’t like it), the book is now seen as “prescient for its views on the flaws and weaknesses of the international financial system….”
This is a film that helps put the Occupy Wall Street movement into a proper context. “Cosmopolis” is currently playing at the Tropic Cinema.
Note: This review of a Robert Pattinson film did not mention trampire Kristen Steward one time … well, before now.

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