Monday, August 27, 2012

Cosmopolis


To say David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis is the worst film of the year so far would be to suggest that 2012 has produced bad films, which is not the case. At least not when you compare them to this incoherent, boring, complete mess of a film. There isn’t a single second of Cosmopolis that doesn’t pointlessly confound. Nothing makes sense, nothing intrigues – it is 108 minutes of laughable acting, misguided direction and dull writing that is about as far from interesting as a film can get.

I’ll do my best to rehash what I can remember from the plot, but this will prove to be difficult, as the words “plot” and “story,” as they relate to Cosmopolis, must certainly be bookended with quotation marks.

Eric, a young, New York City billionaire (Robert Pattinson), decides one morning he wants a haircut. And, despite many repeated warnings from his head of security about the dangers of braving the street, Eric climbs into his giant limo and spends the entire day going across town to get a fresh cut. Along the way, Eric individually picks up colleagues, random women, mistresses, his fiancĂ©, a doctor, and countless others and engages them in lengthy discussions about uh, money, the crumbling city, revolutions, rats, waffles, rectums – who cares.

Nothing that is said makes sense in the context of anything. The conversations have nothing to do with one another, nor do they hold significance for any character involved. So, essentially, Cosmopolis is a movie in which volumes are spoken but nothing is actually said.
Look, I’m not one to brag. About anything. But I know my movies, and I can keep up with and follow just about anything. So for a movie to completely lose me as irrevocably and as quickly as Cosmopolis did really does not speak highly of the film. I’ve never walked out of a movie in my life, and it took every ounce of strength I had to stay put and see it through. (By my count, 12 others were not equipped with such strength, and walked out while exhaling heavy sighs of frustration.)

The nicest thing I can say about Cosmopolis is that it is in no way offensive. At least not to specific groups of people, say in the way Sex and the City 2 (which is the very worst film I’ve ever seen) is. Cosmopolis isn’t controversial, or marked by latent notions of bigotry or discrimination. It’s just a horrible film.

To say Cosmopolis is the worst film of David Cronenberg’s career would mean that we would have to acknowledge that a master made this movie, when we should really, seriously, truly do our best to forget this ever happened. F

58 comments:

  1. Haha awesome review Alex. I tried to just put this one behind me and forget about it, but your review has sparked awful memories of yawning and waiting for the movie to end, while watching others simply walk out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha, thanks man. I cannot remember the last time I was so bored in a movie. I must have checked the time at least a dozen times. Literally counting the seconds. Such a shame that I paid money to see this.

      Delete
  2. Wow - that bad? I was hoping this movie would work out for Pattinson (not a Twilight fan, but I hate to see actors careers be stuck in one role and who eventually go into obscurity...) When did you start checking your phone during the movie? 10 minutes in?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think at about the 20 minute mark I began checking my phone every five minutes or so. It is so slow and oh so very boring.

      I get what you mean about Pattinson. I have nothing against the dude at all, but at the end of the day, I have not seen him act remotely decent in anything. His work in this film is utterly incoherent.

      Delete
  3. No offense to all of the other critics out there but I seriously don't get why so many people like this the way they do. What's so fascinating about it in the first place? It's just R-Patts talking like a rich asshole to a bunch of random people who show up for a scene or two and that's about it. Good performances, but just a terribly dull and uninvolving film. Good review Alex. Glad we pretty much agree wholeheartedly on this one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yup, couldn't agree more with you here, Dan. I mean, people like what they like and hate what they hate, fair enough. But there is nothing anyone could say to me that would make me remotely value this movie. Whatta waste.

      Delete
    2. i'm sorry. if you don't get the movie, ok, but you should judge more carefully. try to read the book from delillo. try to think. then look at movie again. i love the movies of cronenberg in general, but cosmopolis is absolutely outstanding.

      Delete
    3. As a moviegoer, I firmly believe that I should never have to read a book to appreciate a movie more. A movie should stand on its own.

      Delete
  4. Wow, I came quite close to seeing this, chose A Royal Affair (see it) instead. I'm quite unexperienced on the works of Cronenberg. I've seen Videodrome (which I liked), The Fly (which I didn't like, but I was 13 and thought it was sex scene after sex scene, so I need to check it out again*) and Scanners (which I didn't like because the lead performance was shite).


    * I guess I didn't like it because it was not what I was expecting, but I was 13 a complete idiot when it came to cinema.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha, loved your explanations for the Cronenberg flicks you've seen. Honestly, he is one of my favorite directors - A History of Violence and Eastern Promises in particular are two flicks I completely love. I've seen every movie he's ever made, and this is (by far) the very worst.

      (sigh), oh well.

      PS, glad to hear A Royal Affair is good. I dig Mads Mikkelsen a lot, so I'll definitely check it out.

      Delete
  5. Wow. That first paragraph really takes no prisoners. :-) Awesome review -- brilliantly written, articulate, and entertaining -- as always. And thanks for confirming my decision to skip this movie.

    And this is the filmmaker who created Spider. What the hell happened?!?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Stephanie! I really don't like hating on a movie. I try to leave sarcasm out of it and paint what I think is an accurate picture of why the movie is so atrocious. Which this one is.

      Spider is SO GOOD, right? Oh how the mighty have fallen.

      Delete
    2. Yes, Spider is great! And I think your review was clear about why the movie didn't work. It wasn't sarcastic, just very direct and honest.

      Delete
    3. Ahh, thanks so much again Stephanie!

      Delete
  6. I think I'll wait when it's available to download since I do plan on doing an Auteurs piece on Cronenberg for next year.

    Man, the reviews from everyone I read hasn't been very good.

    I wanted to see it because of Cronenberg but fuck... this is Robert Pattinson's fault.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah I think that is a really wise choice. Shit man, I'm not sure whose fault it is, but this flick is a disaster from frame one. Just awful.

      Delete
  7. Yeah, didn't hear many good things about this sticker, and this little piece sums it up:

    http://www.the-editing-room.com/cosmopolis.html

    I always like their stuff, even with movies I really like. Maybe Cronenberg didn't know how to direct a lead who wasn't Viggo Mortensen?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha, that was a funny post, and accurate.

      I think writing is chief to blame here. But the fact that everyone involved elected to follow the script (or the book it's based on) so closely is the cause of nearly two hours of utter boredom. Bummer.

      Delete
  8. Whoa. Damn. Wasn't expecting this kind of review, but it was a fun read. You did make me somewhat curious to check this out, though. Been a while since I saw a truly awful film. At least now I know not to pay to see it in the cinema.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha, fair enough. Some really scathing reviews make me want to see if the movie, just to see if it's that bad. Seeing dogshit helps balance out the good. So, have at it, but don't see it in the theater!

      Delete
  9. Ouch. This actually looks like a film I might enjoy. I'll keep my mind open, but I'll try not to expect much. :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wow, Cronenberg is really losing his touch isn't he? First A Dangerous Method, now apparantly this...I'm glad I didn't go to see this in cinema after all. Weird that with his last movies being flops Videodrome is getting remade.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah that is kind of odd. I know how much you hated A Dangerous Method, and believe me, this is infinitely worse. Such a shame.

      Delete
  11. I love this review so much. If this review were a person, I'd buy it a beer and give it a hug. I saw this film but was unable to write a review - my review would have just been a series of adjectives. I know the world is tough and money is evil, but to be lectured in such a self-righteous way for 100+ mins was just insufferable.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha shit, what a badass comment.

      I know what you mean, sometimes writing a review for a terrible film can be tough. I didn't want to be needlessly hard on it, but rather paint an accurate picture of what it did for me (which was nothing). Either way, sorry you had to experience this crap film too!

      Delete
  12. Wow, great review. As a Cronenberg fan I had such high hopes for this movie. To discover that it's actually pretty bad is rather disheartening. But no director can hide behind the legacy of their name forever - just being 'directed by David Cronenberg' is no excuse for a movie that sounds as bad as you describe it to be.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yup, could not agree more with you - no director is immune to a flop. I'm a huge Cronenberg fan as well, so I had hopes for this too. But man, awful just awful.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Delete
  13. I haven't seen Cosmopolis yet, word is that it's a love it or hate it thing. There have been positive reviews in the blogosphere (see Bonjour Tristesse and Lime Reviews)
    You are certainly in the hate camp :) Mostly set inside a limo, maybe book was unfilmable? The best adaptations cut out the boring bits of the source book, and err...if they didn't, that sounds like an issue.

    So far, my worst Cronenberg film is M. Butterfly (1993)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The blogs you mentioned are written by two bloggers I respect immensely, and what can I say... we like what we like. This film just simply was not for me. If you offered me a rather large sum of money to see it again, I would politely refuse. Easily the longest 108 minute movie I've ever seen.

      I do love Cronenberg, but I don't love all of his movies. Cosmopolis is, to me, by far the worst one he's made, followed closely by Rabid and Fast Company. I thought M Butterfly was... okay.

      Delete
  14. This seems to be a love it or hate it type of film. Still slight curious though

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, best of luck to you if you do decide to see it!

      Delete
  15. Entertaining review Alex. I completely understand your desire to leave the film. I could not believe how disengaged I was mere minutes in. I gave it a good go, tried to make sense of the film, and interact with the conversations, but I ultimately gave up. There were a few scenes that interested me - the pie to the face, the barbershop and Giamatti's stuff - but overall it is a smug, pretentious, lifeless, confounding and boring film. The worst work I have seen from Cronenberg. Impossible to recommend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Impossible indeed. Ugh, I was so close to leaving, but I felt like I had to stick around to see if there was some grand, expert catharsis. Nope.

      Really just a shame for everyone involved.

      Delete
  16. I remember being mesmerised by the trailer a few months ago. But wow, this film was horrendous, you summed the film up perfectly with "Nothing that is said makes sense in the context of anything. The conversations have nothing to do with one another, nor do they hold significance for any character involved. So, essentially, Cosmopolis is a movie in which volumes are spoken but nothing is actually said."

    What a huge misfire.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha, glad we can agree on this one! This movie was so bad. I just can't believe Cronenberg made this. So so sad.

      Delete
  17. "But I know my movies, and I can keep up with and follow just about anything."

    Apparently not. Everything in this film fits together like a jigsaw. The plot follows a very obvious arc of self-destruction on the part of the protagonist, who is basically a sociopath. The acting is at all times spot on. The self-reflexive nature of the script is (almost) note perfect. And even if you didn't like the story or acting, the direction is masterful. You do know what a director does, right? For one, the way the interior of the car was shot is just amazing.

    This film is about the death of time and meaning. It says so explicitly and then enacts what it says. Not so hard to figure out. But maybe you just wanted to be entertained at the expense of all other reasons one sees a film?

    A great comeback for Cronenberg after a couple of mediocre efforts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, you have me pegged perfectly. I only watch movies for sheer entertainment value. Which would explain why Bergman is my favorite director.

      Dipshit.

      Delete
  18. Do rich people like this shit?

    ReplyDelete
  19. To each his own, usually, but this is one movie I think I would literally like someone less if I found out they liked this film. The sesquipedalian vocabulary of this pretentious film is enough to drive you mad in one sitting, I'm sure. Luckily, I only made it to 42 minutes (about), so it just pissed me off. And I hear the ending is a slow down? I hope at least they played "Crosstown Traffic" by Jimi Hendrix in the credits, which discribes the film I saw, or paid to see and didn't because I had better things on the other side of town...

    P.S. I make a rule of NEVER stopping a movie until it is done, especially one I rented (thank the gods I didn't buy it), or paid for in general, but I was starting to realize I'd rather be doing just about anything then watch this "film." Worst. Movie. Ever.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment is awesome. When I wrote this review, I didn't think much of it, because I thought most everyone would hate the movie as much as I did. Way wrong. People loved this damn movie, so I did have to learn that, yeah, To each his own.

      But I'm right there with you, this has gotta be one of the worst films I've ever seen. I found nothing in it worth liking.

      Delete
  20. Sad world we live in, Alex.

    -Michael (aka the writer of the latest "anonymous" comment)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha, it can be indeed. Thanks for coming back and bravely relinquishing your anonymity!

      Delete
  21. Yeah, I really narrowed it down with "Michael" lol

    Good review tho, btw. And it's cool that you reply, most are "above" that and leave good reviews for this film probably because of that... After all this movie is beyond us mortals... ;P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah I always try to reply, even if someone insults me and I feel it is necessary to call them a dipshit (like the dope above). (sigh), that's the way it goes.

      I do have one question though, just curious as to how you found my blog. I always appreciate when fresh faces drop by!

      Delete
  22. I just googled "Cosmopolis review" or something like that, and when I stumbled here I was glad to see a review I agreed with.

    I had some people tell me, "This is an art movie, not Transformers" and how it is meant to be anti-this or anti-that... Well, no shit. Just because I don't like something doesn't mean I don't get it. Such a condensending attitude I expect from someone duped to like this film. I told him in my opinion it's the equivalent of a square drawn by a computer, sitting in a museum to be admired. You are free to call it genius, I am free to call it boring.

    To me, it's just a poorly made film from a highly regarded director.

    -Michael (not a fan of Cosmopolis, if you haven't guessed by now)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cool man, glad you found your way here. Your analogy of a square drawn by a computer is perfect. Just, perfect. Could not have said it better myself.

      Fans of this movie really seemed to be vicious about it. I mean Jesus, I'm not allowed to not like a movie anymore? Cronenberg is one of my favorite directors. I get him, but yeah, it doesn't mean I have to like all of his films.

      Delete
  23. Perhaps this film has come too soon. The death of western optimism and the utter dehuminization of society are neither light, nor pleasant topics to ruminate upon. Humanity has lost it's way in the infinite flow of electronic information. Wealth is no longer tangible, private property is superfluous, and it all means nothing. The characters and their sophomoric musings on their dire predicament is quite amusing, the joke is on them, as they are as clueless as everyone else and have deluded themselves. Packer truly believes he is omniscient, but is slowly disillusioned as many viewers were. This film pulls no punches and comments on the hopeless state of our society, a beautiful, disgust inducing satire. Great to hear you are a Bergman fan as there are so few of us. Cosmopolis is a tough film even for the most seasoned of cinephiles.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very, very well said, Joel. A loved the way you articulated your thoughts about this movie. I too have wondered if this film is before its time. Maybe I'll watch it a few years from now and completely fall in love with its world. Who knows.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and lending your insight.

      Delete
  24. No, thank you for taking the time to read my comment. There are few whom are able to constructively criticize and discuss film in our culture of polarization.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I certainly agree with that. Which is a damn shame. Opinion is opinion, not scripture, you know?

      Delete
  25. For me the film was purposefully wondering and unengaging, this allows for the poetic prose that is the film's entire script to take fore front, and I found it a delight to allow these elegant societal criticisms to wash over me, matched in tone by Cronenberg's excellently symmetrical and out of place directing style, and also by the odd audio trickery the blocks out certain elements of diegetic sounds, creating an even more distant atmosphere. Also, I think Pattinson did a good job of playing a bored, lifeless young millionaire. Oddly enough, this film captivated me by its complete lack of attempt to captivate me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know, all these comments in praise of the film really have me curious to rewatch it. Obviously, it did nothing for me the first and only time, but maybe It's worth revisiting...

      Either way, thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. I really appreciate it.

      Delete
  26. Alex, I wish I had stumbled across your review earlier. I unfortunately just watched this film and I would implore you think long and hard before subjecting yourself to this mess again. It won't get any better and the monotone characters and lifeless storyline will still be as before. But, maybe my advice is not sound as I only lasted 25 mins before I fell into a deep coma. I did wake up to skip through the remaining scenes to see if Paul Giamatti could save things. Unfortunately he couldn't. Close to the worst movie I have seen... or skipped through. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I swear, my review for this movie has inspired more agreement and hate than anything I've ever written. Obviously, I love receiving comments like yours, which get my back and urge me to NOT watch it again. But I appreciate that some people love it.

      But me (or... us) yeah, I don't think I'll be checking this one out again.

      Delete
  27. Please, will you do a Maps to the Stars (2014) review?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Can't wait to review it, but I think I'll wait until it's released in theaters. Loved that movie.

      Delete