Cannes: "Cosmopolis" is Impactful Bore

Comopolis

While the opening credits are rolling, paint splatters from something resembling a Jackson Pollock painting are shown on the bottom of the film screen. This is the first introduction to a very abstract and psychologically twisted story about money and power in the modern world. The concept of deconstructing the fast-paced and elusive financial world into slow and explainable scenes is fascinating, yet to sit through almost two hours of this psychoanalysis is like watching the paint splatters dry.

Cosmopolis is an abstract movie about a handsome, egotistical 28 year old Wall Street billionaire, Eric, played with magnetic melancholy by Robert Pattinson. He represents the 1% of the population who has it all and thinks he can get what he wants, and the film continues to point out his power and commanding ways scene after scene. The movie starts with Eric wishing to get a haircut on the worst day to get a haircut – while the President of the United States is visiting New York City. Eric, the King of King’s, disregards that with comments like “the president of what” and few scenes later, nonchalantly asks again. He only has one goal in mind, to get his haircut by the barber he wants it cut by and will stop at nothing until the goal is achieved.

His relenting and determined ways dictate his life and demonstrate his power. While in his long stretched and high tech limo, he is still able to do business, both professional and personal. The film walks the audience through the lifestyle of the rich and young. How they can have sex with anyone they want regardless of their marital status; how they can recklessly risk millions of dollars in a matter of hours; or how their ego thinks they can buy anything because they have money – like requesting to buy a whole chapel. It shows their superficial world, how they marry for money and status, keeping a formal appearance in public by having breakfast, lunch and dinner with his wife, while out screwing other women.

It shows his power to give and take and how others around him perceive him. The film points out the fleeting relationships he has with people around him, like removing his loyal bodyguard or his demeaning attitudes towards some of the women. It shows how people are jealous of his wealth, shown through strikes and the pie throwing guy who also takes photos to capitalize on Eric’s misery. His only loyalty is to a family barber who works on the worst and most dangerous side of town. And, his only true conversation is to an everyman who wants to kill him, played by Paul Giamatti.

Cosmopolis is a boring to watch but well-constructed art film with impactful and meaningful scenes about the world of the rich and powerful and how the rest of the world views them.

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