More characters just saying stuff? Mr. Cronenberg delivers.
Reported on 7th of June, 2012

which stands, by the way, for version originale.

V.O. is the reason I moved to Paris instead of somewhere nice with good restaurants. And no, I’m not being ironic. Paris is the cake capital of the world, and I am the cake eating champion of the world, having polished off a tartlette citron meringue and a délice framboise already and it’s not even 10am.



7 June 2012 @ The UGC Bercy

$14.00 or, if one must be prosaic, and one must... 
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

§  §  §


I hate Paris. It's a city, which by definition is full of people, instead of harmless images of people.

Nevertheless, the restaurants suck, people don’t like dogs, they’re doing construction next door, and it’s 100° outside. Paris is a city, which by definition is full of people, instead of harmless images of people. It’s horrible. Why Paris? Well, outside of America, there are very few places that show english language films subtitled. Paris is the only city in France, for example, that doesn’t dub the shit out of films, which would be fine 1) if I spoke French, and 2) if they didn’t get it constantly fucking wrong. Which leads us to Cosmopolis, which will be coming out in your neck of the woods right about now. I saw it seven months ago in Paris, and, having finished chapter one of my PhD, and the greatest screenplay ever written, I now get to do what I actually like: complain about harmless images of people.

Not Cosmopolis, which I really liked. It’s a return to form for Mr. Cronenberg, who hasn’t made a decent film since eXistenZ. I detest the various single scene films that he’s created in the last few years: Eastern Promises (naked fight scene), A History of Violence (sex on the stairs), A Dangerous Method (whipping Ms. Keira Knightley) and Spider ().

That’s not a typo.

Aside from the penultimate to the latter, a single memorable scene does not make a movie, despite what the critics tell you. The attempt to recall anything but the aforementioned scenes is like, well, trying to recall a scene from any other movie; one scene is better than none. I take it back; recalling a single scene from a film puts him in the 21st century master class. The critics are right. But, um, not for the same reason that I am. Yeah, that’s it.

Cosmopolis is more than this, or maybe it’s just one long scene. I don’t know. The fact that he simply transcribed Mr. Don DeLillo’s dialog from the novel doesn’t hurt. Saying ‘Talent is more erotic when it’s wasted’ is a risk; following it by ‘What did I mean by that?’ saves it. It’s a literary film, and it’s kind of a neat artifact. It is many things, but it is not boring, nor is like other movies really. Afterwards, I could only say: more characters just saying stuff, and Mr. Cronenberg delivers.

Shall I sing high praises of the UGC Bercy, besides it's next to an Eric Kayser with those amazing pistachio finanicier? They serve beer, and I used to have UGC card: free movies, all year, for €20 a month. They would have lost a fortune. But I moved. So they made a fortune. Did I buy the equivalent of the 24 month warrantee? Damn.

Shall I sing high praises of the UGC Bercy, besides it’s next to an Eric Kayser with those amazing pistachio finanicier? They serve beer, and I used to have UGC card: free movies, all year, for €20 a month. They would have lost a fortune. But I moved. So they made a fortune. Did I buy the equivalent of the 24 month warrantee? Damn.

The only problem would be the casting of Mr. Robert Pattinson, who is not so hot despite Mr. Cronenberg’s admirable support of same. On the other, it leads us, given the material, to a neat little alternate reality. You see, many, many years ago, Mr. Cronenberg, fresh off The Dead Zone and The Fly was ready to direct the adaptation of We Can Remember It For You Wholesale, a Phil Dick story that you know as Total Recall. It was to star Mr. Harrison Ford (in 1989), and would have been the among the greatest films of all time. Greatest films in this case include Mr. Alfred Hitchcock’s Jimmy Stewart regains his sight and goes to Disneyland (kiboshed by Mr. Disney upon seeing Psycho), and Mr. Orson Welles Life of Christ (kiboshed by everyone, not least by Mr. Welles himself). I fantasize, and we’ll see that most of this story is fantasy, that the scene where Quaid is told his reality is not reality, and he must take a pill to get back to reality – you know, the one scene you remember, weren’t we just talking about that? – survives from Mr. Cronenberg’s original draft.

I can’t believe, by the way, that Tarantino is in my spell check, and Cronenberg is not.

Fast forward (technology term! How branché!) to today, where Total Recall is re-made to a virtually non-existent audience, minus the above scene, weirdly. It stars, as you probably don’t know since you didn’t really even know it came out, Mr. Colin Farrell, who was, and this is true, to be the lead in Cosmopolis. Until he dropped out to do, yep, Total Recall.

This last part I may have made up, since I’m not sure about the chronology, but it’s true that he dropped out, and it’s true that he would have made a better Packer than Mr. Pattison, who is perfectly serviceable, but needs a bit more gravitas. Does Mr. Farrell have this gravitas? I’m not sure, and is probably too old anyway. Would Cosmopolis been one of these lost films? Probably not, because it’s found. It got made, and since it actually exists, it’s the girl you like. Once it’s (she’s) real, it’s half imperfection and half unfulfilled expectation.

That reminds me; I need to be in a relationship.

The hard part is seeing Cosmopolis in V.O. Americans aren’t going to like this film (they didn’t), but the more let’s-show-the-latest-Quentin-Dupieux-film-at-a-multiplex French might. They never will get the chance because of the terrible, terrible subtitles. This is not a plot film, and it was actually painful to watch the mangling transliterations, which simply go by rote, changing ‘Your prostrate is asymmetrical’ to ‘You are not well’. Actually, that’s pretty good. It is the richness of the language that makes this a singular film. It succeeded at what it wanted to be, and so few films do that. And I know it’s personal taste, and this is as personal as it gets, but I feel like there’s enough artistry and plain hard work to appreciate and even admire. If you were you, I would like, say, The Raid, or Margaret, and I (the real I) would not like it, but get that you did. If I was me, I hope I would do the same.

The Take

M Mathieu Amalric as the pastry assassin is not just a great movie character; he’s a rôle model.
Since you’re not going to bother, Exemplars @ $2.00 per
I’m thinking of quitting.
Try putting a stick of gum in your mouth and not chewing.
Money makes time. It used to be the other way around.
It’s women’s shoes. It’s all the names for women’s shoes.
Watched it again for free on LoveFilm.
1) It holds up.
2) It’s the lowest rated film, by far, they’ve ever had. Cowboys and Aliens: 3 stars; Cosmopolis: less than 1. That should be enough reason for you to see it.
Total Profits
It’s weird that not liking the lead would only deduct
Total Losses


Thoughts on Cosmopolis

  1. Mary says:

    I liked the lead, but this film is pointlessness reiterated 10 different ways, and I found no entertainment value in any of it, especially the end. This is the movie where I was like, “OMG, I could have cleaned the bathroom just now, but instead I sat here like a jerk watching this nihilistic garbage.” Is money pointless? Is lunch in a New York diner pointless? Is sex with several hot women pointless? Is a blonde trophy wife pointless? Well maybe, but surely not an affectionate father figure? Hair? Sanity? Death itself? Whoever asks these questions and thinks making a movie of it all would be a great idea, is clearly a bored, washed up, overstimulated asshole whose total lack of spirituality is like a gaping hole, crying out for someone to please put it out if it’s misery!!! This movie (being made) is what’s wrong with America, and no, that’s not the point of the movie. It is a total joke that this would have even been made, let alone that people would pay to go see it. Honestly, 90 minutes of a completely blank screen would have been a better anti-movie movie, and better use of my time!

  2. Scott Scott says:

    Great. Now I’m thinking about putting a gaping hole out of its misery.

    I’m one of four people who saw it in France in the theater, and that’s why I saw it. Why did you? Good god, y’all! The process of what gets made is odd indeed, and has nothing to do with nothing. It has a little bit to do with anything. And rich people’s weird quirks, and feeling too embarrassed to back out of a project even when they realize it’s a disaster. It has a lot to do with that.

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