Cosmopolis is open (limited release) in the UK this weekend! If the limo is in your neck of the woods, hop in and enjoy the ride! Film4 has a trilogy of coverage for the film and it’s excellent. Catherine Bray was vocal on twitter during Cannes so we knew she loved the film but it’s great to finally have her press interviews. She was so engaging and knew the best things to mention. First up is her video interview with Robert Pattinson. She “gets it” and Rob is quite pleased. 🙂
Next is her Q&A with David Cronenberg:
Catherine Bray: Hello David. I should start by saying I really loved the film, having seen it twice now, at the premiere in Cannes and on coming back to London – it’s a really extraordinary piece of work.
David Cronenberg: We should stop the interview right now, we can’t do better than that.
Catherine Bray: [laughs] Maybe we can start off by talking about Eric Packer, who I think is such an extraordinary character, for which your casting of Robert Pattinson was such a smart move.
David Cronenberg: Well, as a director you have a lot of balls to juggle, just with casting the main character and something that’s obvious, I suppose, is that you have to have an actor whose fame will support your budget. It’s kind of mundane and it’s not really part of the creative process, but it is part of the pragmatic process of getting a film made, so you need somebody who financiers and financial people and investors can get excited about and obviously Rob has that.
But beyond that, when the smoke clears you’re left with you and the actor on the set, and whether he is good or he’s not good – is he the right guy or not? – and that’s something that as a director you can’t lose sight of. And having looked at a lot of the things that Rob did, particularly the Spanish movie called Little Ashes in which he played the young Salvador Dali, I thought, ‘this is a really interesting and serious actor who’s not afraid to play some very difficult roles’, and so it proved to be. Even Twilight and so on let me know that he could do the accent that we needed for the movie, that he had the charisma that you need if you’re doing a movie in which the lead character’s in absolutely every scene. There’s no scene that he’s not in, so you need someone who’s incredible watchable, and we all know Rob is that.
Catherine Bray: And there’s a really exciting tension between his kind of persona in the film and his public persona, the idea of someone being at their peak deciding to go another way.
David Cronenberg: Yes, and the character himself is a kind of enigma. It’s something that is becoming more and more familiar – someone who is incredibly capable on one level, in this case financial wizardry, and completely inept on the level of human interaction. It seems to go together a lot these days, and we’re just discovering more and more people who’re like that.
Click HERE to finish reading the interview
We posted the review from film4 back during Cannes but it’s very intelligent and positive so we want to post it again:
Cosmopolis has been assessed as a ‘cold’ film, which it is. Warmth would derail it. An immersion in the process of 28 year old billionaire Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson) committing financial suicide over one day as he travels by limo to get his hair cut, David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis isn’t the critique of a social realist or egalitarian, peering in at the villain of the piece. Nor is it asking us to spare a thought for the mega-wealthy because sometimes it’s hard to be a billionaire. What it recognises is the disproportionate and urgent need to comprehend this mindset, given its disproportionate power.
And so Cronenberg’s eerily pitch-perfect realisation of Don DeLillo’s brilliant novel plugs us deep into Eric Packer’s shallow existence, allowing us to feel what he feels – or rather, and here comes that word ‘cold’ again – to not feel what he fails to feel, cold as his lifestyle renders him to the world. And how could it not? That’s the dark question at the heart of Cosmopolis – we can see that such wealth is damaging, we can see the fathomless isolation, the safety, the boredom, the affectless distance, and yet we fail to really hate the rich because, as the film has it, in our minds, we’re all ten seconds away from becoming rich.
The film does not ask how the world came to be this way; it’s enough to know that it has, with Packer’s chief of theory Vija Kinsky, played with delicious callousness by Samantha Morton, boiling it down to money having “lost its narrative quality, the way painting did once upon a time. Money is talking to itself.” We’re into money’s surreal, post-modern, dangerous, self-referential period.
And it is in these moments that the film’s sly humour flickers and provides a point of identification – who hasn’t felt caught in these types of social performance? The humour in Cosmopolis is inevitably not of the most obvious sort, but is present throughout, often locating a gallows hysteria in the world’s absurdities. Humour is a very human coping response and although Cosmopolis is shot and scored like dystopian fiction, the most terrifying thing about it is actually that it has absolutely no need to exaggerate; this is effectively dystopian fact. A bald reworking of the first line from the Communist Manifesto swaps Europe for the world and Communism for Capitalism: “A spectre is haunting the world, the spectre of Capitalism”; this is shown as part of an in-movie anti-establishment protest that is as extreme as it needs to be, underlining the point that insanity may be the only sane response to an insane system.
This is also why casting Robert Pattinson in this role is a stroke of genius. Apart from delivering a very fine performance, he is arguably the star currently inspiring some of the least sane responses in our culture. When, at the film’s climax, he is confronted with a maniac insisting “I know everything that’s ever been said or written about you. I know what I see in your face, after years of study,” it’s not hard to appreciate how brilliant – and perhaps cathartic – a role this is for him, one that figuratively interrogates the fame-capital he has accrued so far, Pattinson apparently as interested as Packer in the possibility of re-setting as something else. I can only imagine how this film will be looked back on in twenty years; for me, it’s the coming together of source, director and star with a relevance that rarely occurs in cinema.
Click HERE to read the review in its entirety but their verdict is this:
5 stars. An extraordinary psychological and sensual immersion in the psychosis of capitalism with a brilliant performance from Robert Pattinson gives Don DeLillo’s novel a screen life that probably only David Cronenberg could have delivered.
Click HERE if you’d like to read more reviews!