UPDATE: More reviews from NYT, Rolling Stone, Collider, WSJ and more…
The US press finally got to see Cosmopolis so the reviews are rolling in. There are also left overs from Australia. We’ll keep updating but you can always click HERE to read more!
Click the links to read the entire review
Excerpt from Rolling Stone (Peter Travers), 4 out of 5 stars:
Cronenberg, a master recalling his surreal work on eXistenZ and Naked Lunch, adapts the novel with a poet’s eye and a keen ear for language.
Working with gifted cinematographer Peter Suschitzky, Cronenberg creates a crumbling world in microcosm. In this fever dream of a movie, Pattinson is incendiary, notably in a climactic gun scene with the great Giamatti. Cosmopolis, demanding as it is daring, is no easy ride. I mean that as high praise.
Excerpt from the New York Times:
Mr. Cronenberg’s direction throughout “Cosmopolis” is impeccable, both inside the limo and out. The difficulties of shooting in such a tight space, which seems to expand and contract depending on the scene (as if the car were breathing), are conspicuous but rendered invisible by his masterly filmmaking. Mr. Cronenberg keeps you rapt, even when the story and actors don’t. Some of this disengagement is certainly intentional. Taken as a commentary on the state of the world in the era of late capitalism (for starters), “Cosmopolis” can seem obvious and almost banal. But these banalities, which here are accompanied by glazed eyes, are also to the point: the world is burning, and all that some of us do is look at the flames with exhausted familiarity.
Excerpt from the Wall Street Journal:
Conventional it is not. Engrossing it is.
Excerpt from Collider (8.4 out of 10):
In his latest film, Cosmopolis, Cronenberg turns his eye to capitalism, and has created a darkly comic, coldly calculating look at a world where everything is for sale and nothing has value.
Excerpt from The Wrap:
This is not a movie to watch on cable while you’re paying taxes; it requires intense concentration because Cronenberg offers little in the way of exposition while slipping little clues about character and consequences throughout the enigmatic exchanges of dialogue.
It may take a year or two before I can decide whether or not “Cosmopolis” is a work of genius, but it’s too smart and layered and provocative to dismiss as merely pretentious or in love with the sound of its own voice. It’s the kind of film that starts arguments, so see it if for no other reason than to know on which side you’ll be standing.
Excerpt from Very Aware (4 out of 5 stars):
Pattinson shines when he embraces his character’s descent into darkness. Uneven at times, it’s a nuanced performance that will make you want to see more of this in the future. Peter Suschitzky’s cinematography is crisp, polished, and effused with a warmth Pattison’s character sorely lacks. It’s that juxtaposition that makes Cronenberg’s framing all the more addicting to watch.
There’s something to be said for the script’s soapbox speeches and pontifications. Cronenberg gives audiences a cerebral, darkly comic take on economic woes and their impact on society. This isn’t for everyone, but then again, what Cronenberg film is?
Excerpt from the New Yorker:
For long stretches, “Cosmopolis” is dreamy and funny, in an off-centered way.
Excerpt from McCoyed:
Cosmopolis is not really a return to form for Cronenberg. I’m not sorry to say it, though, as it represents an evolution in the style and themes and approach he has developed through films like Videodrome and Existenz. This one, perhaps more so even than the others, is concerned with the uncertainty of our civilization. It’s a rewarding film, one that doesn’t really care whether you get it or not. Most people won’t. They won’t even want to. They’ll be thrown by the talky, technical (but poetic) dialectics that make up the vast majority of the running time. Populist reviewers will say things like “where’s the story?” or “it’s just philosophy 101″. They will ignore Cosmopolis or dismiss it, and so will just about everybody else. This movie was practically made for people who like to toss around the word pretentious like they know what it means.
Also, it’s the closest thing to a proper William Gibson adaptation that I’ve ever seen. And really, if you like Gibson and Cronenberg then Cosmopolis is going to spin your fucking head like a top.
I’m no populist reviewer. I don’t rely on a paltry lexicon of tired, cliched phrases to describe movies. I generally stay away from things like “adrenaline rollercoaster thrill ride” or “uneven acting”. I want to tell you why something is exciting or uneven. I’m interested in understanding how movies do what they do and how to explain that to others in ways that are obvious once thought through. In other words, I want to present intelligible thoughts; thoughts that don’t rely on any knowledge of me or my preferences or history to understand. Cosmopolis is the kind of movie made for critical thinkers who know how to pay attention. There’s a school of thought that goes, if it’s too complicated to understand it’s the fault of the author(s). This is the kind of creative work that turns that dumb shit on its head. The movie’s discussion of its ideas is not complicated anyhow, it’s the ideas that are and if you find ideas complicated all I can say is read more. Worked for me.
Excerpt from Screen Crush, giving 7 out of 10 stars:
I must confess that I didn’t always follow what Cronenberg was up to in ‘Cosmopolis,’ but I always enjoyed the ride. The atmosphere is dark and bizarre, and deadpan too — it’s sometimes hard to tell whether the joke is on the capitalists, the anti-capitalists, or the audience. I suspect the film’s unconventional structure and tone will turn off a lot of viewers, who may balk at the meandering, talky narrative and the ambiguous and anticlimactic ending.
Personally, I loved the final shot. That’s exactly how this dream would end just a second before you woke up.
Excerpt from Movies by Bowes:
Holding everything together is Robert Pattinson’s performance in the lead. He’s good. He’s real good. He starts out this icy, remote, almost alien being, then gradually and with the same exquisite precision as Cronenberg’s direction, reveals emotional colors, vulnerability, hunger, desire, raw open nerves. Over the course of the movie, as shit gets weirder and the world he’s known (and basically ruled) all his life collapses, it’s endlessly fascinating to watch the way Pattinson plays Eric Packer’s fascination with his own (self-orchestrated) undoing. I’ll stop before I get too specific, but goddamn if Pattinson isn’t simply tremendous in this movie. If this performance is any indication, he’ll do just fine post-Twilight. The dude can act his motherfuckin’ ass off, and I hear chicks dig him, so he’s got that going for him as well.
But yeah, Cosmopolis is great. Everything and everyone is basically fucked, and while “cheerful” isn’t quite the right word to describe the way DeLillo and Cronenberg convey this idea, it’s weirdly not far off. Cronenberg’s stunning visual ideas and set pieces (like, respectively, the pervading references to rats and that related “holy fucking shit” protest scene in Times Square) may make some people a little uncomfortable, but they certainly don’t seem to be doing that to the director. You can palpably feel Cronenberg enjoying himself, I mean having a fucking blast, for almost the entirety of Cosmopolis: “WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!” Which is, alas, true. But one thing Cosmopolis gets it right in its particular ultra-cerebral, meticulously strange way is that it’s really all about the journey. Because it is.
Excerpt from BoxOffice.com, giving the film 4 out of 5 stars:
To represent Packer’s wild parade of passengers, Cronenberg has assembled a deep cast of instantly recognizable actors (Juliette Binoche, Samantha Morton, Paul Giamatti) who dive into their parts with giddy abandon. They plop into the vehicle’s epic sci-fi interior as if summoned from the ether, and they disappear just as quickly—for Packer, everyone is available, but no one is really present. The “chance encounters” he shares with his wife (a perfectly cyborg-like Sarah Gadon) are blithely convenient, but always counter-productive. Packer, as the kidz might say, has seemingly won at life, but his view from the top has allowed him to see that capitalism is an imperfect cure for chaos, a placebo for whatever it is that ails the world. The rich get to live in the future before everyone else, and so Packer (with his fancy toys) has a front-row seat for all of the nonsense that the plebeians have only begun to sniff in the air. It’s no wonder that he obsesses over the paintings of Mark Rothko, what with their fuzzy lines and calm swaths of pure color.
And so Cosmopolis rolls along, nudged forward by the velocity of its cynicism rather than the momentum of its plot. The journey is subtly detailed by Howard Shore’s brilliant electro score, which maintains a distant human element by squishing Emily Haines’ vocals in between the beats. When the film threatens to unravel during a leaden portion of its latter half, Cronenberg punctures the soundtrack with sudden jolts of self-conscious violence in order to get things back on track—by the end of the colossally weird final scene, Cosmopolis almost functions as a much needed meditation on the rampant misuse of guns in a culture that’s so eager to damn the present it can’t effectively protest the future.
Cosmopolis ultimately plays like Cronenberg riffing on Mike Leigh’s Naked, or a contemplative take on Justin Timberlake’s In Time, sans the stupidity. All the same, despite the familiarity of its rage, a film this thorny will always be a challenge to embrace, even for its most ardent admirers. Samantha Morton’s character repeatedly states that she “Understands none of it,” and audiences of all stripes will likely murmur in solidarity. Cronenberg’s genius is in how he recognizes that confusion is nothing new, and Cosmopolis will endure because he insists that, if shared, it can even be cathartic.
Excerpt from Today’s Zaman:
This film is closer to the form of an essay, although it is the leading character with a very specific motivation that drives through one strange day in New York. It is the study of the enigmatic and reserved Packer, who is the epitome for the modern kind of human being that has possibly created his own demise without fully knowing it. Packer seems like the uber-mensch with his knowledge and power, but at the end of the day he is just one mechanism of the savage capitalistic system. Pattinson presents a fine performance that might put him in a new cinematic league, and Cronenberg adapts DeLillo’s novel in his unique and exalting style. Despite its ambitions and profundity, however, there is something missing in “Cosmopolis,” perhaps it is this viewer’s gnawing feeling that Packer’s enigma is never fully solved, and thus the film leaves us hanging in a place where closure is not provided.
Then again, this is Cronenberg, a filmmaker that never submits to anyone’s expectations. Luckily there are still extraordinary directors of his caliber.
Excerpt from The Reel Bits, giving the film 3.5 out of 4 stars:
Films about the nature of capitalism have become prevalent since its apparent stumbling of the last few years, but none have explored the nexus between the organic, the psychological and the technological. In the 21st century, body, mind and machine are inexplicably intertwined, creating an arena in which we are simultaneously in a state of ubiquitous connectivity and yet more alone with our thoughts than ever. Cosmopolis may not be the first film to try to guide us through the digital morass, but it posits itself as a type of narrative that aims to acknowledge the failure of machine and man to psychologically carry us through the darkest chapters of our corporate history.
From Time Out NY, giving the film 4 out of 5 stars
Ultimately, Cosmopolis is a theory movie, one that’s made unusually accessible by filmmaking chops, rear-entry sex and spiky dialogue. It could have used more humor: When a hulking rap promoter shows up to mourn a dead celebrity—the saintly Brother Fez (K’naan)—Eric’s wanksta sympathies provide a rare moment of levity. (Howard Shore’s sinuous score, including the K’naan number “Mecca,” is tops.) It all comes down to a disgruntled 99 percenter with a gun—again, way too obvious—but until then, the cruise is slick as an oil spill.