An evocative imagining of the last days of capitalism, from visceral director David Cronenberg
Surprisingly Don DeLillo’s novel Cosmopolis was written several years before the events of 2011: the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street and the London riots. Yet seeing the film verison - adapted by David Cronenberg (who apparently was so inspired by the book he wrote the screenplay in 6 days) - it’s difficult not to see the huge relevance of both works to contemporary times and in particular those aforementioned events.
Set in the near future, young billionaire Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson) embarks on a trip to the other side of Manhattan to get a haircut, despite his security team warning of turmoil on the streets. Cocooned in his stretch limo, Packer’s journey is interrupted with a variety of encounters and conversations with, among others, his distant wife Elise Shifrin (Sarah Gadon), his knowledgeable adviser Vija Kinsky (Samantha Morton) and his lover and art dealer Didi Fancher (Juliette Binoche). Meanwhile outside the level of chaos increases.
Robert Pattinson is passable rather than spectacular as the arrogant Packer: his occasional woodenness masked by the stilted and wordy style of DeLillo’s writing. What is truly captivating however is Cronenberg’s visualisation of DeLillo’s world. The city of the title teeters on collapse, a conflict zone through which glide a wealthy few, buffered by money, until (we hope) their arrogance gets the better of them. This bristling evocation of the last days of capitalism is compelling and unsettling in equal measure but ultimately memorable for being so very close to recent global happenings.
Selected release from Fri 15 Jun.