Friday, April 20, 2012

Not Anticipating: Cosmopolis

Cosmopolis film poster
I thought it was pretty witty in 2001 when the Broadcast Film Critics Awards gave out a special award for "Best Inanimate Object" to Wilson the Volleyball in the Movie Cast Away.

A few years back, I read the book Cosmopolis: A Novel by Don DeLillo, and at the time, was very unimpressed with the story, especially knowing that it would be made into a movie.

I bring up Wilson the Volleyball here because in the same way an inanimate object steals the show, in many ways, I felt like the white limo in this story was really the main character, although far less interesting the Tom Hank's volleyball campaign in Cast Away. (Don't forget Hanks and Wilson also won a teen choice award for "Choice Movie Chemistry" that year as well).

In the book Cosmopolis, the main character Eric Parker (played by Robert Pattinson) spends the day riding around a limo in New York to get a haircut, losing money as he bets against the yen. Along the way Parker finds himself experiencing a number of unexpected delays, chance meetings, and destructive events.

And it's not that I'm against the "day in the life" story. In fact, early on this story reminded me of Ian McEwan's Saturday. Yet in Saturday, the themes that come out in this one day in London are themes about family, fear, terrorism, activism, aging, rationalism and adjusting to a changing world.

Cosmopolis on the other hand is not written so intelligently, and while Cronenberg has a gripping visual style that I imagine he will be able to find in this opulence of this film's young protagonist, I think walking away from the film, like the book, viewers will ask...what was the point of all that?

Parker spends much of the day pondering things like "Why do they call them sky scrapers" and the day is almost too full, ending up being just a character study of Parker, with his limo as a symbol for nothing more than Parker himself, and his attempt to make the world more or less his cork-lined oyster.

This film will not be on tops of my list, and I'm sure if it makes any sort of splash on the film season it will be the polarizing type of film that surprsingly wins top spots on some people's list while being bashed by others. And not all films like that are bad, but for me, I'm weary of this film due to it's uninspiring source material.

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