It is almost something of a cliché when works of art become more relevant to a reality much further away from their publication. An artist’s prophetic depiction suddenly ringing true. Often leading to recreations or adaptations as the due date approaches. In the economically uncertain year of 2012, a 2003 novel found a larger voice audience across the heady chaos of the year, looking at wealth, people and more in Cosmopolis.
The tale of Cosmopolis could be best summed up as the tale of Eric, who is a 28-year-old in search of a haircut. He is a young, successful big-shot in the heady world of finance, who is being chauffeured driven in a nice limo, while the world is deteriorating outside him. During his journey he encounters a handful of interesting people, though it is not all clear sailing, as the riots outside his limo escalate, his life deteriorates.
It would be easy to dismiss Cosmopolis as a ‘finance bro’s’ power fantasy mixed with an impenetrable sequence of incomprehensible dialogues. The 2003 novel is faithfully recreated, and the book is known for its abstract tone. The ‘finance bro’ in question is played by Robert Pattinson, who is very believable as the young billionaire. Doubly so are the characters that Eric encounters throughout his journey, they are a wide-ranging mixture of prospective, voices, relationships. Eric engages differently with each of them, such as having an affair with his bodyguard, a conversation with a young rapper, all with their unique perspectives. We also meet his wife who is growing a lot more distant along with Paul Giamatti who plays Levin who might have it out for Eric and nothing to lose.
This is once again an adaptation by David Cronenberg, and for the most part, this is a rather noticeable departure from the usual mind-warping body horror that the director’s trademark. Like some of his later work highlights the human drama without the abstract augmentations of humanity that is so prone in his works. Though that is not to say it is a straightforward narrative experience, the entire film has this metaphorical quality and is open to interpretation and debate. It retains that quality from the book, and it manages to shine in both mediums.
By delving deep into desolation while in the real world the economy was uncertain, Cosmopolis is an interesting slice on humanity, society, and their ever-contentious co-existence. A nicely acted and thought-provoking look at money, relationships and people matching the original novel’s themes. It might not be for everyone, but for those who like to add their interpretations to uncertain metaphoric, will get a lot of mileage out of this one. While it is not the most straightforward film I have ever seen, it is certainly one of the most fascinating trips to the barber I have ever witnessed.
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