Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Flushing Our Money Down the Toilet is More Entertaining: Our Review of "Cosmopolis" (2012)

Directed By: David Cronenberg (A Dangerous Method)

Starring: Robert Pattinson, Paul Giamatti, Juliette Binoche, Samantha Morton

Rated: R for some strong sexual content including graphic nudity, violence and language

Run Time: 1 hour, 49 minutes

Synopsis: Billionaire asset manager Eric Parker (Pattinson) wants to get a haircut, so he rides in his limo all day and night while he holds business meetings and sexual affairs…all while losing billions because of a colossal mistake he made. Because of this and various threats throughout the day his life begins to unravel.


Andrew: Hello readers! Last night we went with a couple of friends to a movie theatre in Hartford that shows independent films and caught a showing of David Cronenberg’s latest, Cosmopolis. It stars Robert Pattinson (Twilight) as Eric Parker, a young, financial-whiz billionaire, and has some other recognizable names such as Paul Giamatti (Sideways), Juliette Binoche (Chocolat) and Jay Baruchel (Knocked Up).

But for the most part it’s JUST Pattinson and someone else (it changes throughout) riding in his stretch limo across Manhattan as he’s dead-set on getting a haircut on the worst day possible for numerous reasons.

Sarah: Amongst them are the President visiting the city, a protest riot breaking out, a dead rapper’s funeral procession and some threats out on Eric’s life.

A: Exactly. So this is one that caught our attention in a few ways – you saw some clips on Good Morning America, I saw the trailer online, we like Cronenberg’s other stuff such as the recent A Dangerous Method, and of course we were curious to see how Pattinson did in a sort of post-Twilight role.

So now that we’ve seen Cosmopolis what are your thoughts?

S: It was AWFUL. It was the biggest waste of my time I’ve ever experienced at a movie theatre. When I start breaking my own rules and bust out my phone just to stay awake or to keep myself from leaving the theatre? That’s about as low as you can get.

Readers, just so you know, the only reason I stayed and watched the whole thing was so we could do this review. That’s the ONLY reason I wasn’t like, “Dude, we need to leave.”

A: I completely agree. And first, apologies to Beasts of the Southern Wild because we thought THAT movie was pretentious and was making us fall asleep and wanting to walk out, it ain’t got NOTHIN’ on Cosmopolis. Holy crap.

I was honestly THIS CLOSE to getting up, walking out and saying I can’t take any more of this. Because not only was it boring to me but it was ├╝ber-pretentious. Now, I know the film is an adaptation of a 2003 novel by Don DeLillo, so I’m sure a lot of the dialogue comes straight from the book or is adapted very close to it, but it’s just that the dialogue was either going over my head or was boring as sin because it’s about cyber-business and Pattinson’s Parker just blathering on about existential crap.

No, seriously, he gets a haircut. And the discussion between the barber and Pattinson's driver is absolute drivel about taxi driving. Ugh.

Seriously, when he just starts asking questions and his underlings always say they’re afraid he’ll no longer respect them because of their answer, or his repeatedly asking his wife to have sex, whom by the way, he JUST married and only because they’re both from rich families…just the whole thing is incredibly pointless. And readers, again, if you could tell us what you think of the movie and tell us what we were missing, I’m all for it. I’d love to know because I really wish we had our $22 back.

S: At least when we saw Beasts of the Southern Wild we were glad we had seen it because it was Oscar bait. Cosmopolis is not Oscar-worthy whatsoever. In my mind there was no point in making this movie. When movies are brought from book to screen and sometimes it’s a little rough but still kind of works? That’s ok. But Cosmopolis brought nothing worthwhile to the screen. It didn’t need to be made.

A: Now don’t get me wrong, I get the basic premise here. Parker is a rich…

S: Self-loathing…

A: Whiz-kid who has way too much money to know or care what to do with it because he’s always had it; he’s desensitized to life in general. So here he wants to go get a haircut all the way across town because why not? Ok…and he doesn’t care that it’s a crazy day, and oh look he keeps running in to his wife. And did you notice he only ever ran in to his new wife…

S: At meal times? Yeah. Stupid.

A: Exactly. Oh, and he has two threats out on his life, one that may be more serious than the other and when it gets right down to it the film turns into an analogy to the Greek myth of Icharus. How’s that? Because he flown so high in business but now can’t figure out the yuan and he’s losing billions in one day. Could it be any more heavy-handed?

So I get it. He’s falling from grace and couldn’t care less because it makes him feel “free.” It’s almost like the old Michael Douglas movie Falling Down, where it’s about a guy whose life is just collapsing and he doesn’t give a crap anymore and so he starts acting out in a very destructive way.

So I get it, but I agree with you, it was pointless. The ruminations going on throughout the film destroyed it for me. I get that Pattinson was probably perfect for the part because his bland delivery and icy-cold stare was perfect for his character, but it made for a terrible movie-watching experience.

S: Yes it did. It was just bad. It was so pretentious that it has probably blocked out 99% of the audience that has gone to see it in theatres. Any normal crowd that would go see this will probably get offended that it’s so difficult to understand or care about what’s going on on-screen.

A: Everyone on-screen just goes on and on and on…ugh. Now I’m not going to completely bash the film because there are a couple of things I did like about it. For example it looks great.

The secret to the meaning of Cosmopolis occurs just seconds after this scene. It's one of the few scenes worth mentioning.

S: The cinematography was very good. The camera angles were different and distinct, if a little too artsy at times, and the interior of the limousine was very cool.

A: So it looked good and then Paul Giamatti is the one bright spot as far as the acting goes. Probably because he’s just the best actor involved in the whole thing and kind of gave it a jolt at the end of the film, but even then he blathers on about some stupid stuff.

Ok, here’s an example of how bad the dialogue is - at one point in the climax of the film Pattinson has just purposefully hurt himself and Giamatti gives him some towels to stop the bleeding. It’s a shocking bit of action for a second, but then this exchange occurs:

Pattinson: “My prostate is asymmetrical.”

Giamatti: “So is mine.”

Pattinson: “What does it mean?”

Giamatti: “Nothing. It means nothing.”

And THAT, dear readers, is the movie in a nutshell. It all means NOTHING. Cosmopolis is trash and you couldn’t pay me to watch it again.

S: We’ll never see this film again. Don’t waste your time with it, even on a rainy day if it’s on the Independent Film Channel.

FINAL VERDICT: For the love of all that is holy, skip it!
(Out of Five clapboards)


  1. This movie was just too terribly pretentious for me to even enjoy and I don't get how other people are all loving it. Not everybody is, but a good majority of them are and it's a real shock to me since there doesn't even seem to be much here at all worth recommending or sitting around and watching for over an hour and 36 minutes. Good review, though.

    1. We're glad you agree with us on the pretentiousness! We couldn't get over it. We'd seriously like to know what people are seeing in it that they're liking it so much. It was excruciating.