Cosmopolis (film)  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Related e



Cosmopolis is a 2012 drama film starring Robert Pattinson, directed by David Cronenberg. It is based on the novel of the same name by Don DeLillo. On May 25, 2012, the film premiered in competition for the Palme d'Or at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, drawing mixed early critical reactions.



A 28-year-old billionaire stock speculator/asset manager Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson), rides slowly across Manhattan, despite traffic jams, in his state-of-the-art luxury stretch limousine that he uses as his office, while on his way to his preferred barber. The traffic jams are caused by a visit of the President of the United States and by the funeral of Eric's favorite musician, a Sufi rap artist whose music he plays in one of his two private elevators. Despite his clearly plummeting fortunes, Packer fantasizes about buying the Mark Rothko Chapel. He has recently married; in the car and elsewhere, he has meetings with his wife, who no longer wants to have sex with him. Instead, he has sex with other women. Meanwhile, anti-capitalist activists on the street demonstrate by waving rats and declaring that "A specter is haunting the world: the specter of capitalism". They spray-paint Packer's limo, and he is later subjected to a pieing by one of the activists. Packer learns that an assassin is out to kill him, but seems curiously uninterested in who the person might be.

In his car, while having a meeting, he has his doctor carry out his daily medical checkup; Eric worries about the doctor's finding that he has an asymmetrical prostate. After devastating currency speculation, which wipes out most of his fortune, his world begins to disintegrate. Eventually he kills his bodyguard. Arriving at the barber, who knew his father, Packer has his hair cut on one side. The barber and the black limo driver discuss their respective careers driving cabs and the barber, learning that Packer has thrown away his gun, gives him his own gun. Packer follows a path of further self-destruction, including visiting his potential murderer, Benno Levin, a man who used to work for him. Packer seems likely to commit suicide but instead deliberately shoots himself in the hand. The murderer, who feels adrift in the capitalist system, explains to Packer that his mistake in speculating was looking for perfect symmetry and patterns in the stock market; instead, he should have looked for the lopsided - his body with its asymmetrical prostate was telling him this. The film ends with the potential murderer holding a gun to Eric's head and threatening to kill him, but a final shot is not shown.


  • Juliette Binoche as Didi Fancher, Eric's art consultant, with whom Eric has an affair
  • K'Naan as Brutha Fez, a rap artist


Cosmopolis premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on May 25, 2012.

Cosmopolis received positive reviews. Rotten Tomatoes gave the film 65%, based on 155 reviews. The consensus says, "Though some may find it cold and didactic, Cosmopolis benefits from David Cronenberg's precise direction, resulting in a psychologically complex adaptation of Don DeLillo's novel." Justin Chang of Variety wrote: "An eerily precise match of filmmaker and material, Cosmopolis probes the soullessness of the 1% with the cinematic equivalent of latex gloves. ... Pattinson's excellent performance reps an indispensable asset." Robbie Collin of The Telegraph gave the film four stars out of five, stating, "It's a smart inversion of Cronenberg’s 1999 film eXistenZ: rather than being umbilically connected to a virtual world, Packer is hermetically sealed off from the real one. At its heart is a sensational central performance from Robert Pattinson as Packer. Pattinson plays him like a human caldera; stony on the surface, with volcanic chambers of nervous energy and self-loathing churning deep below." Ross Miller of Thoughts On Film also gave the film four out of five stars stating that, "If, like me, you’re in-tune with the tone, style and direction of the film then it provides for a fascinating and intellectually nourishing experience." Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly stated, "Cosmopolis includes its own version of the Occupy hordes: scruffy, vengeful protesters who run around the streets, and into restaurants, brandishing the bodies of dead rats. ... Pattinson, pale and predatory even without his pasty-white vampire makeup, delivers his frigid pensées with rhythmic confidence." A very positive review came from The London Film Review, which said "The fact is, Cronenberg made a movie for YOU. The 99%. A movie that reflects, comments on[,] satirizes and parodies our time."

However, Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter criticized the film writing, "Lifeless, stagey and lacking a palpable subversive pulse despite the ready opportunities offered by the material, this stillborn adaptation of Don DeLillo’s novel initially will attract some Robert Pattinson fans but will be widely met with audience indifference."

Sight & Sound film magazine listed the film at #8 on its list of best films of 2012, and Cahiers du Cinema placed it at #2.

It is notable that even though the film is ostensibly set in Manhattan, Toronto landmarks such as the Canon Theatre (now the Ed Mirvish Theatre) feature in the film.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Cosmopolis (film)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools