Fuck the Occupy movement. Jarv gets supremely bored by, and then incredibly pissed off at, COSMOPOLIS
Droid nailed this down as the worst film of 2012. While I have seen some of the other mentioned stinkers, and think that the worst film of last year was the incomparably awful Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, he is right about how “good” it is. Cosmopolis is a rotten, awful, pretentious, pompous movie, and lord knows what it is doing as part of Cronenberg’s canon. It’s winding me up a bit actually, because having found a bit of form with History of Violence and Eastern Promises, he seems to be luxuriating in the kind of tiresome crap that he wouldn’t have gone anywhere near in the 80’s. Following on from the disappointing Freud nonsense, Cosmopolis is another let down, and I’m hoping he’s not about to enter another fallow period.
Based on Dom Delillo’s insanely overrated novel, and apparently adapted by Cronenberg in 6 days, Cosmopolis was described by The London Film Review in equally demented hyperbole with
” The fact is, Cronenberg made a movie for YOU. The 99%. A movie that reflects, comments on[,] satirizes and parodies our time”
In a way, it was timely. The Occupy soap dodgers were in full hypocritical swing, busy sleeping faux-rough while swilling lattes from Starbucks and purchasing commercially made Guy Fawkes masks by the bucket load. Cosmopolis should have tapped right into this zeitgeist, but instead prompted mass walk outs, and I know precisely why. The middle class student audience that comprises both the Occupy movement and Cosmopolis’ core audience were busy sitting outside St. Paul’s Cathedral/ Wall St. singing “We shall overcome”, and for anyone else this is a painfully boring film. Fuck you, dirtbags.
I suppose I should do a plot summary here. Except it’ll be nigh on impossible as Cosmopolis basically doesn’t have a plot. Packer (Robert Pattinson), a self-absorbed financial “Master of the Universe” is on a tailspin of self destruction. He’s placed a disastrous bet on the Yuan, and is about to lose it all. His inability to keep his prick in his pants has alienated his poet wife of 22 days, and he’s been getting death threats from an unknown assailant. It’s a bit harsh considering all the man wants is a haircut, except he struggles to get that, as he’s caught up in anti-Capitalist protests, and a rapper’s funeral.
So, he sits in his plush limo talking absolute drivel with various people, indulging in the odd bit of grubby sex, talking more drivel, before eventually getting his haircut, and encountering his would-be killer to, er, talk more drivel. Except “mumble” would probably be a better term for it. I genuinely became convinced that there was something wrong with my TV as I frantically turned the volume up to try to make out what they were saying. I have watched other films since, and can confirm that it’s not my telly. It’s Pattinson and Giametti (an actor I usually like) to blame.
Acting wise, this is lousy. The cast is stuffed full of good to great actors in the form of Giametti, Juliette Binoche, Samantha Morton and others, but they’re being forced to recycle DeLillo’s dreadful, pompous, faux weighty critiques of capitalism. While occasionally Pattinson buts in with something allegedly profound along the lines of “Were you interested”. It’s absolutely fucking dire, and it becomes apparently very, very quickly that this isn’t a film. It’s a series of lectures on the inherent evil of capitalism and the financial system.
The writing it entirely to blame for this mess. Pattinson is an unsympathetic, anaemic looking pretty boy at the best of times, but he can’t be held responsible- even though he is on screen all film. The problem here is that Cronenberg himself said that the adaptation process was literally him transcribing the novel’s dialogue and then adding scene descriptions to it. This approach has produced an inordinately stagey film, as Packer lurches from tiresome encounter to even more boring and pretentious conversation. A brief moment of levity at the start of the film sees him doing business while getting a prostate exam (in his limo), but this proves to be the exception rather than the rule. I don’t like the dialogue in this novel, and think that it strives so hard to be “important” and meaningful that it basically becomes didactic and sterile. On screen, this is even worse.
Then there’s the direction. If this is, as advertised, a scathing satire of the financial sector then Crones is the wrong director for it. We’ve got another beautifully constructed, elegantly staged but surgically precise and monumentally boring film. As with A Dangerous Method and so forth he just hasn’t got the style for a production on these lines- he doesn’t have the fire or the hatred. Cosmopolis feels boring and clinical (well, it is boring and clinical) and much of that comes down to the Canadian’s style. Actually, I struggle to think of anyone that could have turned in a good film from this script, but can categorically say that he wasn’t the man for the job.
Then there’s the message/ philosophy of the film. I consider the Occupy parasites to be hypocritical turd-fondling douchenozzles, and thus I don’t like being preached at by them. Also, has anyone actually established what the fuckers stand for yet? I can’t stand this 99% motif from them- as the 99% basically seems to be defined as “anyone with more money than us”. I’m totally lost by the idea that middle class students can “protest” with the predicted effectiveness of a perforated condom on a message that they have neither defined nor understood anyway. It’s another nebulous and useless manifesto; a call to arms that cannot be properly nailed down, and therefore not properly attacked.
“But but but Jarv” I hear you say in your whiny little bitch voice “aren’t you bothered about inequality and unfairness”. Well, yes I am- but I will NOT be preached to by Hollywood multi-millionaires on the subject- especially one who is so whorish that he starred in the fucking Twilight movies. And I’m pretty certain that I’m not in the 1%
Overall, Cosmopolis is a terrible, rancid, preachy and boring film. It’s so boring, actually, that it put Mrs. Jarv to sleep three fucking times while I manfully struggled all the way through to the limp and talky climax. If you enjoy spending time in the company of a complete wanker while being lectured on all sorts of crap then this is the film for you. If you’re not into being bored rigid for a couple of hours than don’t touch with a bargepole. There’s only one rating this can get: The Orangutan of Doom.
That’s me up to date with Cronenberg again, I hope to god he finds some form soon.