Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Challenge Excepted: Canada

Without realising it I watched my Canadian film. While watching it I wondered if it was an American but then I remembered Cronenberg's other films were Canadian and there you have it.

So Cosmoplis is my film from Canada.

If you have seen the strange, fast paced and very short trailer, be warned, the film is not like the trailer at all. This could be seen as a good and a bad thing.

Based on the novel of the same name by Don DeLillo the story follows billionaire Eric Packer who rides in his limousine, which he uses as an office, across Manhattan. He is told by his head of security, who practically never leaves his side, that the President is in town and there is traffic and advises him to stay at the office. But Packer is adamant he wants a haircut and his preferred barber is across town. Packer takes meetings in the limousine as well as having sex a few times. He only leaves the limo to talk to his new wife on three separate occasions. While the limo crawls through the city, Packer is also informed that an threat has been made on his life.

The plot is quite straight, it is actually so simple, rich man wants a haircut and has to deal with scenarios on the way. He only seems to meet with one person at a time, except when he has a meeting with his Chief of Finance while having his daily medical check up. These one on one conversations feel like scenes in a play. One character leaves, another enters, but Packer is constant, in every scene.

The film reminded me of Jim Jarmusch's The Limits of Control because there is one main character in every scene and he only ever has one on one meetings with various other characters. The main character, 'Lone Man' is also on a journey and each character he meets gives him a clue or advise. As the films goes on, it is understood that this 'Lone Man' is a hitman.

In Cosmopolis, Packer's financial state becomes clearer, he is losing money by the second and doesn't do anything about it. He treats the news that someone wants to kill him in the same way. But at the end, when he has his haircut, he seeks out his would-be assassin and confronts him. After this conversation, the film is left on a cliffhanger.

Each character is impressive and linger in your mind after the film but Robert Pattinson as Eric Packer is brilliant. Miles away from his annoying hero vampire persona that was very two dimensional, this feels like his first chance to actually act. He portrays the spoilt screwed up billionaire very well. If he takes more roles like this then more people will take him seriously.

Overall I'm not sure I enjoyed the film. I changed my mind throughout depending if the scene was compelling or not. I did wonder what the time was more than once and for me, that's quite bad. I never look at the time. I thought the characters were interesting but at times the dialogue was lost on me, it was too philosophical and maybe even dull. I was excited to see Paul Giamatti in the film and the role he had but his scene was very disappointing, it was way too long and took ages to get to a point.

I was interested in reading the book instead, maybe there something in the book that the film lacked.

End Line: Basic story of financial commentary lost in a riot

Next: Lebanon

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