"Cosmopolis" (2012) is a venture into the world of intellectual cinema, a strange and mesmerizing journey directed by David Cronenberg and based on the novel by Don DeLillo. A dystopian odyssey through New York, this film feels more like a dream than a standard cinematic experience.
Robert Pattinson stars as the young billionaire Eric Packer, who decides to traverse the city in his stretch limousine to get a haircut. Through this simple plot device, Cronenberg introduces us to a world of decadence, of misplaced ambition, and a chaotic society on the brink of self-destruction.
The film is a character study, dissecting Packer's mindset and deconstructing the world of finance, power, and control that he inhabits. Pattinson gives a restrained yet convincing performance. His transformation from a detached observer to a man starting to grasp the emptiness of his existence forms the crux of the film.
"Cosmopolis" stands out for its unconventional narrative structure, the bulk of the action occurring within the confines of the limousine. Cronenberg uses this space to create a sense of isolation that reflects Packer's psychological state. The dialogue is highly stylized and abstract, echoing the novel's dense prose. While this might be off-putting for some viewers, it serves to accentuate the film's surreal atmosphere.
The cinematography, courtesy of Peter Suschitzky, mirrors the claustrophobia and decadence of Packer's world. The polished interior of the limousine contrasts starkly with the grit and chaos of the streets, reflecting the widening gap between the rich and the poor.
"Cosmopolis" is not an easy film to digest. Its narrative, shrouded in metaphors and abstract dialogues, requires attention and patience. However, its criticism of capitalist excess, its study of a man lost in his own wealth, and its overall eerie atmosphere make it a unique cinematic experience.
While the film has a divisive nature, with some viewers being entranced by its dense narrative and others put off by its lack of traditional storytelling, there's no denying its impact. "Cosmopolis" is a thought-provoking commentary on the state of modern society and a haunting portrait of a man coming to terms with his own insignificance.