Excerpt from MovieFix (AU), 4 out of 5 stars:
Drawing mixed reactions since its unveiling at Cannes this year, Cosmopolis is in part frustrating, but mostly brilliant, right down to the final thrilling scene (featuring the ever-talented Paul Giamatti).
The dialogue-heavy script, the clever industrial soundtrack and the fact that much of the film takes place in Packer’s limousine, may at times lead you to believe you are watching a raw small-stage theatrical production. And I say that in the best possible way.
If playright Harold Pinter was alive to write a sequel to Fight Club, then Cosmopolis could be it. For that reason, it won’t be everyone’s film of choice. But don’t listen to the haters – this linguistically complex and eloquently dark film is much more clever than pretentious.
Excerpt from Shotgun Critic, giving the film 4 stars:
You probably won’t like David Cronenberg’s ‘Cosmopolis’. It’s a hard movie to enjoy. Two people walked out of this screening—and these guys get paid to watch movies. It’s dense, verbose and discusses capitalism through use of obtuse metaphors and, frankly, those are all big barriers if you’re not tuned in, caffeinated and invested (so to speak) in what’s going on. There’s also an inherent ugliness and unpleasantness to lead character, billionaire Eric Packer, offset by the angular and all-too-perfect Robert Pattinson – itself a brilliant bit of casting.
So yeah, you probably won’t like this movie – and I wouldn’t blame you. It’s a bitter pill and it knows it. David Cronenberg (Videodrome, eXistenZ), however, is in fine form here—and if you’re braced for the kind of experience he generally provides (that is, brooding and introspective examinations and taut, sometimes horrific, suspense), Cosmopolis is actually a fine film and utterly fascinating.
As an adaptation of the equally unapproachable novel by Don DeLillo, Cronenberg made a few very wise decisions early on. One, this is Robert Pattinson’s hands-down best role. In the hands of a very capable director and a punishing script, Pattinson turns in a performance that channels a young Robert De Niro, New York twang and all. His performance is so understated and brilliant that, during moments where he breaks through this Wall Street gloss, he comes across as truly unhinged and monstrous. This is a frightening performance in the best ways and points towards a hell of a career ahead for Pattinson.
For one of the smartest films I’ve seen in a while, Cosmopolis is also one of the least outwardly enjoyable. That by no means makes it anything less than a great film however. But if you can stomach the loose poetry of the dialogue, heavy use of metaphor and occasionally lax pace, this will leave you thinking about its cultural commentary long after the curtains close.
Excerpt from Next Projection. They noted aspects of the film that aren’t mentioned in detail in most reviews. Also gave it a summary score of this: 92/100 ~ AMAZING. This is Cronenberg returned to what he does best, delivering a film that stands both as a highlight of this year, and of its director’s work to date.
Employing for the most part DeLillo’s dialogue verbatim, Cosmopolis nonetheless carries the distinct quasi-horror air of intensity its director is best known for. There’s a very deliberate alienating effect to the speech of the characters, particularly that of Packer. His is a distinctly literary patois as dissociated from typical human speech as he is from every other social custom. The arrhythmic flow of the dialogue is jarring, yes, but in such a way as to make every word rich with double-entendre, every vocal intonation steeped in semiotic significance. Sound is paramount to the film’s effect, the near silence of the limo as it crawls through the frantic streets making all the more pronounced the subtle tones of Howard Shore’s score once eventually they arrive. Instrumental to the many crescendo scenes scattered throughout the film which gradually move from austere removal to involved intrigue, Shore’s work here is the pinnacle of his now three decade-long collaboration with Cronenberg. Equally effective is the work of Ronald Sanders, Cronenberg’s similarly long-term editor, whose transitions regularly follow the posing of a question, the cuts standing in for the answers. To label the film as a dialogue-laden drama is to misrepresent the astounding technical achievements of its team, expertly building apprehension with minimalistic mastery. Its concluding scene is one of the most impeccably mounted of Cronenberg’s oeuvre, an alarmingly uncomfortable cocktail of apical tension, arresting performances, and exploding aggression from all fronts, the music now disregarding all restraint as the cup of animosity at last runneth over.
The defining distinction between Cosmopolis and the rest of Cronenberg’s post-2000 work is this: while any director would be proud to call these films their own, only Cronenberg could have made this movie. Only Cronenberg could have drawn out in so revelatory a way the greatness waiting within Pattinson, only Cronenberg could have dressed up so morally complex and philosophically rich a story in so evident an allegory, only Cronenberg could have distorted the recognisable world in such a way as to make it morereal. This is Cronenberg returned to what he does best, delivering a film that stands both as a highlight of this year, and of its director’s work to date. Cosmopolis is not just a reflection of our times, it is a reflection of our lives, a reflection of ourselves and the dark, angry asymmetry of our existence.
Excerpt from The Yorker (UK):
The casting of Pattinson as the quasi-psychopathic playboy may be a surprising move, but he delivers a magnetically credible performance. Packer is a curious creation, a man who views life through a mathematic prism, obsessed with control and perfection, terrified of abnormalities and who insists on having daily health check-ups. It would be easy to interpret him as a symbol of American capitalism, but Pattinson succeeds in bringing out the humanity of his character, particularly in one scene where he is struck with grief for the death of an idol. Samantha Morton, Juliette Binoche, Mathieu Amalric and Paul Giamatti are all also excellent, the latter especially in a nail-bitingly tense stand-off that seems to go on forever.
Cronenberg’s is the cinema of unease, and in Cosmopolis he continues to explore ways to make audiences squirm. If you’re prepared to put up with this, and the long discussions of the nature of the modern economy, thenCosmpopolis will be a compelling and rewarding experience from a director who continues to excite and experiment.
MORE reviews after the cut!
Excerpt from The Age (AU) which gave the film an 8/10:
Given the increasingly marked social divides, particularly in Europe, the film feels more relevant now than ever. And as a thoughtful essay on a man fighting for meaning within his hollow surrounds, it’s riveting, poetic and thoroughly Cronenberg.
Excerpt from Crikey (AU):
Cosmopolis is the first great GFC art film, linked to financial and social catastrophe in tantalisingly evasive ways.
Excerpt from RoxWorld:
This film feels more relevant now than ever; a man fighting for meaning in a lifeless world. I found it riveting!
Excerpt from Guestlist Network:
There is a superb final scene between Pattinson and Paul Giamitti, an artistic and tense tété-a-tété of morals and motivations including a memorable (if ruined by its inclusion in the trailer) bit of self mutilation. If only the rest of the movie were like this, it would certainly benefit.
Excerpt from Scene360:
Still, Pattinson gives a terrific turn as the spoiled, empty-hearted but energetic Packer, and it’s great seeing him getting his teeth into (ahem) something a bit more worth his time. And Cosmopolis is still an important statement of our times; it’s just difficult to understand what that statement is.
“Cosmopolis” is not going to be for everyone. It is not a relaxing Friday night movie and it does have a tendency to lag by the beginning of the third act, though it does redeem itself in the final scenes. When the Cronenbergian violence does come, it’s a relief, if not an antidote to all the intricate multi-layered conversations that have preceded it. Love it or hate it, “Cosmopolis” is going to create a reaction and likely a source of many university film studies papers.
Excerpt from The Reel Bits (AU), 3.5 stars:
Cosmopolis is a difficult film to penetrate, but this is only partly due to the deliberate way in which it was constructed. Cronenberg treads a fine line between portraying isolation and actually detaching his film completely from audiences, but his curious mixture of sci-fi sheen with real-world problems grounds Cosmopolis in a way that a surface scan may not reveal. The implication is that the corporate disengagement from reality is partly to blame for the financial crisis, but far more fundamental is the wider apathy that has allowed this to happen.
Excerpt from Empire Online (AU):
A part hypnotic, part profound, part send-up meditation on our financially imploding time.