Cosmopolis (★★★★ Empire US iPad Blu-ray review)

CosmopolisSquareFrom his early “body horror” films to his more recent output, David Cronenberg has always been interested in the cinema of ideas, and his adaptation of Don DeLillo’s prophetic and profound 2003 novel about a day in the life (spent mostly in a limousine) of billionaire currency speculator Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson) harnesses DeLillo’s explosion of ideas to the full, despite the apparent limitations of the location. In Cronenberg’s hands, Cosmopolis resembles a sleek science fiction film, in which the hyperreal setting lends the episodic, Alice in Wonderland-like tale the feel of a holodeck recreation of 21st century New York, glimpsed mostly through the deliberate artifice of the green screen-enhanced windows and eerie silence of Packer’s cork-lined, armor-plated mode of transportation. Characters wander in and out of the narrative, largely leaving the film on R-Pattz’s young shoulders, and the 26-year-old Twilight star proves more than a match for Cronenberg’s lofty aspirations, as Packer’s world collapses around his ears, amid fluctuating currencies, anti-capitalist riots, death threats, and existential ennui. The film may take place mostly in a stretch limo, but don’t expect a comfortable ride: Cosmopolis is an intellectually demanding journey from start to finish, but one you’ll remember long after its ended. ★★★★

EXTRAS It’s rare to find a Cronenberg film on DVD or Blu-ray without the gimlet-eyed Canadian’s customary erudite commentary, but its absence is not so keenly felt thanks to the lengthy ‘making of’ which, with a running time of one and three quarter hours, “Citizens of Cosmopolis” is just a few minutes shy of the duration of the film itself, and gives a fascinating insight into Cronenberg’s working methods, while all the key cast and crew members are given enough space to explain their own interpretations of the text, and the director’s take on it. ★★★★

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