Unfolding over a single cataclysmic day, a 28-year-old billionaire asset manager rides his tricked-out limo to get a haircut. Over the course of his journey, intimate encounters, grid-locked traffic and the death of a rap star contribute to his reality melting away.
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A king's throne amid an alcázar of technology & data, his limousine--his erratic psyche dampening the world-- advancing(regressing?) toward childhood, foundational innocence, a haircut. In creating such scenic restrictions, Cronenberg awakens a new kind of cinema. Capital, mutable bodies, the urge to feel anything. Don't be deceived: no banal postmodern thematics here. The real becomes unreal; emotion must be earned.
Seen this 3 or 4 times and it's gained in my estimation each go-round: tighter, funnier, and easier to parse, though I'm still only halfway sure what the hell "Judeo-Christian jogging" is supposed to mean.
Monsters and horror can still be found in Cronenberg's post-EXISTENZ work. In COSMOPOLIS, it might be the camera. Abel Ferrara's 4:44 this year posits that when money loses its meaning, we might learn to be human again. This suggests that money is going to take reality as we know it with it, and words and image bend and collapse into its black hole. Alienating, but exhilarating.
I can understand this isn't for everybody but for me it was my fave Cronenberg since DEAD RINGERS. (and I generally like all his work). I don't think it's commentary on capitolism/corportism is shallow because the rich and the poor are not charicatures, I think it says a lot but I don't always know what that means. The dialogue is best part of the movie (IMHO) makes me wish I've read some DeLillo. will see this again
Artificiality dominates the film; from the obvious back-projection outside the limo to the technology and people inside it. And key are the conversations which seem intimidatingly intellectual and long-winded but them self are like everything else a simple surface. Ultimately, our complexities are banalities, and thus evils.
Nihilistic. Grandiose. Dialogue genious. There is something of the Ocuppy Movement, of High Frequency Trading, of the contemporary search/lack of reality, both in a lacanian and in a Fight Club kind of way. Cronenberg still has universality in its humankind portrayal but this time the portrait feels anchored to recent events. Did not read the novel, so cannot comment on the adaptation. But I'm curious about the book.
In Maps to the Stars, David Cronenberg studies decadence in Hollywood, in Cosmopolis, he talks about Wall Street and its pointless actors. The next one will be about Texas and its nostalgic and ridiculous cow-boys I presume. This one is alas already forgotten.