Friday, May 25, 2012

CANNES 2012 REACTIONS: David Cronenberg's "Cosmopolis"

We're so very close to the end of Cannes you could spit on it, and naturally that finally brings us this film we've all been waiting to get word on. David Cronenberg hit a rather rough patch with "A Dangerous Method", which managed to not be dangerous or truly methodical. His streak of intense place and period studies had run its course, and didn't really have much more to offer. "Cosmopolis" is exactly the film that he needed to put him not necessarily in the direction he was in before, but in the direction he needed to go from here. Naturally, word from Cannes has been positive, which seems to be too much of a slighting statement, and I doubt it will be when I get my crack at the film. It's notthing unanimous, and there's enough thorns in the works, but it's enough to inspire a metered response.
Guy Lodge (In Contention): "This is the richest, wittiest, most stimulating material Cronenberg has had to work with in a decade – not for nothing is it his first self-scripted feature since “eXistenZ” – but it will take further viewing and consideration for this writer to decide if the finished film, briskly paced and unapologetically talky as it is, quite makes good on the opportunity. As it stands, the permanently on-message postulating of “Cosmopolis” proves a little wearing, though perhaps more so to jaded patrons on their tenth day of festival viewing. Cronenberg’s keenness to cram as many of DeLillo’s words into a script that amounts to little more than a sequence of ornate two-person conversates threatens inertia, but the film largely avoids dullness."
Peter Bradshaw (The Guardian): "This is not to say that there aren't some amusing moments that break through the Xanax mood. Amalric plays an anarchic prankster who hits Packer in the face with a custard pie: but tellingly, Cronenberg can't bear to give us the visual punchline and actually show us Pattinson's face covered absurdly in cream. His camera only looks back at him once the cream is mostly off, and the note of mandarin seriousness is established, succeeded of course by violence. Giamatti gets the one honest laugh of the film with his use of the word "mutton"."
David Jenkins (Little White Lies): "Beyond its withering critique of contemporary capitalism, Cosmopolis is also fascinated by that ongoing Cronenbergian concern: the limitations and mutations of the human body. Eric desperately wants to scale an economic Mount Olympus and be able predict the permutations of the Chinese Yuan, and his inability to attain this level of cerebral perfection acts as a signifier for his mental and physical decline." 
Damon Wise (Under the Radar): "The stylised nature of the language will limit this film's appeal, and its self-conscious craziness might also be testing to some (why does the professional barber Eric finally visits cut huge steps in his hair?). And after Water For Elephants it remains to be seen whether Pattinson's teen following really is willing to follow him anywhere. But Cosmopolis does prove that he has the chops, and he parlays his cult persona beautifully into the spoiled, demanding Packer, a man so controlling and ruthless that only he has the power to ruin himself. Lean and spiky – with his clean white shirt he resembles a groomed Sid Vicious – Pattinson nails a difficult part almost perfectly, recalling those great words of advice from West Side Story: You wanna live in this crazy world? Play it cool."
James Rocchi (MSN Entertainment): "The dialogue is rapid-fire, so much so that it leaves bullet holes. And as Eric goes across town in his ridiculous car -- with the world coming to him in the form of business meetings, sexual liaisons and even doctor's appointments in the back of the limo -- we realize that Eric is the epitome of modern capitalism. The titans who make our world are small, broken people. And, interestingly enough, if you're casting for a dead-eyed shark wreathed in unearned privilege, Pattinson turns out to be a pretty good choice."

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