Of all the excellent Canadian filmmakers, I must say I have always treasured David Cronenberg the most. From his early ‘body horror’ films that hooked me as a young lad (Scanners, The Brood, Rabid) to his bizarre reality-twisting tales (Videodrome, Existenz, Naked Lunch), his mainstream hits (The Fly, The Dead Zone, A History of Violence, Eastern Promises) to an undefinable film like Dead Ringers, he has always kept audiences entertained, wondering, and most of all, thinking. After a few films in a row that have been more reality based, Cronenberg returns to the realm of the bizarre with Cosmopolis.
Cosmopolis is the strange tale of Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson), a billionaire asset manager who is travelling across town in his stretch limo to get a haircut during turbulence in the streets of a not too distant in the future city. Along the way Packer interacts with many odd characters that pop in and out of his limo and contribute to his self-destructive, slowly eroding sense of reality.
I had a hard time with some of Cosmopolis. The story is presented very much in the style of a stage production, with the majority of the action happening in and around Packer’s limo. The dialogue gets very philosophical and often I found myself getting lost as to what exactly was happening, but I was oddly still drawn to the film and never found that aspect of it distracting or frustrating. Pattinson is wonderful in the film and I can see why he just might end up to be a regular with Cronenberg (he is in his next film as well). The feeling of the entire story is very surreal and dreamlike, and although I walked away from the film with a feeling of not quite getting it, I found myself almost immediately wanting to return to it for another go. Also of note here is character actor Kevin Durand as Packer’s head of security and personal bodyguard. Durand is always entertaining in whatever he turns up in, but in Cosmopolis he becomes the guy we kind of identify with, because we as an audience are detached from the billionaire 28 year old lead character. Durand is excellent in the role and I hope this opens other filmmakers’ eyes to the fact that he can do much more than just play a heavy.
The Blu-ray from eOne is stunning. Although a few green screen shots early on are achingly obvious, overall the film looks great with amazing clarity and detail, and beautiful color reproduction. Cosmopolis is not for everyone, and may take more than one viewing, but this is David Cronenberg we are talking about. He doesn’t do ‘easy’ and we continue to love him for it.
Available now on Blu-ray and DVD.