Cosmopolis - Blu-ray Review

'Very little that car inhabitant Eric does proves interesting and few of the people he interacts with have much to say that feels either entertaining or enlightening'

A man of apparently unlimited means, driving around in a posh limousine, engaging in off-beat encounters with individuals which mix anthropology, threat, academic discourse and love. It is difficult not to approach Cosmopolis as a film very similar in nature to Leos Carax's Holy Motors. The former pales in comparison.

Where Carax's film is occasionally light, consistently inspired and filled with an invention and joy that make the whole thing a pleasant, uplifting experience, David Cronenberg's exploration of men in big cars with big things to do is a testing trudge. The remarkably wordy script has no lightness or subtlety, characters constantly spout exposition or ramble near-meaninglessly down avenues of high IQ interest but low vernacular engagement. Very little that car inhabitant Eric (Robert Pattinson) does proves interesting and few of the people he interacts with, save head of security Torval (Kevin Durand), have much to say that feels either entertaining or enlightening.

Comparisons with great films are harsh though so lay Holy Motors to one side for a second and contemplate Cosmopolis in its own right. Potentially a film with something to say about our economic status, the mega-rich Eric is fatuous, lost, wandering in a world where his greatest worry in an apparent moral and monetary crisis is where to get a haircut. The entire final third, devoted to a conversation between Eric and Benno (Paul Giamatti) lays the economic worth and weight of Cosmopolis out on a slab. It is found wanting. There is discussion, sure, but where is discussion without insight and what is this final third but a supremely heavy re-living of the rest of the film? A weighty conversation with very little interest and a hell of a lot of content.

In the lead, Robert Pattinson is theoretically well cast but he does not bring his A-game to the table. Remember Me proved that he could act, even in a flawed picture. This suggests otherwise. Durand brings whimsy and vigour to a film sorely lacking both things, but he is sadly alone. Who else of those he meets bring something to the party, either in terms of characterised interest in the plot or acting showcase? No-one. On a performance level, this is sadly a pretty empty void.

Two sex scenes, which feel out of place, are worth noting, as they suggest that Cronenberg knew this needed spicing up, but even they feel cold and otherworldly, lost in a sea of meaningless waffle.

Holy Motors is a film about life, the universe and everything. Cosmopolis is a film about an idiot in a car.

Cosmopolis is out on UK DVD and Blu-ray on Monday 12th November.


  1. Slight faux pas!

    It's David Cronenberg not David Lynch who directed it. Not seen the film but it's received very mixed notices.

    Makes me wonder if Pattinson has as much of a career ahead of him as he would like because he seems to struggle or look uncomfortable with a lot of material. I wonder what it would if someone like Andrew Garfield was in it instead...

    1. Yes, thanks - got alerted to the mixing of the days via someone on twitter. Senior moment!

      Garfield is a good call, would have been interesting to see what he did with it. In hindsight I'm starting to wonder how much of it is Cronenberg's fault. Pattinson is so flat in this I'm wondering if that's how he was directed to play it, rather than it being definitely a failing on his side.

      As to his future, he's taking the right sort of roles I think but yeah, he needs to show some more ability to completely convince me, certainly.