A Gentlemen’s Duel – Cosmopolis

Justin: Welcome to another thrilling Gentlemen’s Duel between myself, Justin, and my beautiful cohort Nathan. This last week we saw the movie Cosmopolis by David Cronenberg. You may remember my post from earlier in TUG’s lifetime where I hyped up Cosmopolis. Did it live up to the hype or did it meander along the sea of film mediocrity? That’s what we’re here to find out. As always, there are spoilers in this duel, but it’s a Cronenberg movie so the spoilers aren’t exactly hard and fast. Nathan, I’ll pose the first question to you: what did you think of Cosmopolis and getting your Cronenberg cherry popped??

Nathan: First of all I would like to say that I’m glad you noticed my new outifit, thank you for calling me beautiful, it’s very kind of you. I had no idea what I was going into when Cosmopolis started, all I knew about Cronenberg before then was summed up pretty well in your hype up post. I knew that this was based off of a novel and that Cronenberg does…weird things in his movies. I enjoyed the moive though, that’s for sure. For the first while I was pretty confused as to what was happening and why it was happening and I really didn’t know any better after the movie was done, until we discussed your thoughts beifly afterwards and found out our thoughts lined up pretty well. All in all I enjoyed it, but I don’t know if I loved it.

Justin: That sounds about right to me too. For what it was trying to be, it succeeded. It was supposed to be a disection of a book in almost the most literal way possible. I read somewhere on the interwebs that this book was supposed to be ‘unadaptable’. Apparently Cronenberg adapted it and stayed true to everything the book was. How much of it takes place in Edward Cullen’s limo after all is said and done? I’d say about 75% of the film takes place in one location with absolutely minimal character movement.

Nathan: They used the limo very well, they did so much with so little space, but succeeded at showing you what was going on. There were times when things would happen outside of the limo, but everything ended up back there. The limo itself was very cool, very futuristic but at the same time it was something that could, more than likely, exist today.

Justin: I also found the framing to be interesting. For example Robert Pattinson would always find himself dead centre in the frame, however the people he was talking with would always be stuck in one side with a lot of dead space to their negative. What I mean by that, as you probably remember, they’d be frame right, looking off to frame right to Pattinson and there would be tons of dead space to their left. This added a very surreal subconcious feeling to the dialogue scenes, which there were A LOT of.

Nathan: Most of the movie is just dialgue, lots of dialogue. Very wordy scenes that quite often you had to work your way through what was being said so that you could understand, or at least atempt to understand, what everyone was talking about. You don’t know what these people’s jobs are, you can make assumptions, but you’re never quite sure, and this just seems to be a day in the life of a bunch of characters, nothing that’s happening seems like they are finding it too unusual.

Justin: I still don’t even know what most of the things being said meant. Seriously, I draw blanks on pretty much every conversation except for the last one. To me it was pretentious pseudo-philosophical dialouge throughout, but from what I’ve seen from other reviews, that was the point. So, congratulations are in order then??

Nathan: There are two conversations that stand out to me, the very first in the limo with the…tech expert? And the final conversation between Edward and Paul.

Justin: Yes, the conversation between Paul Giamatti and Pattinson is, as expected, awesome. The connection between those two actors in their scene was phenomenal.

Nathan: That was one of many scenes, if not the whole movie, that shows that Robert Pattinson can actually act. Suprising I know! His performance impressed me, I actually enjoyed watching him in this moive and didn’t feel uncomfortable watching him act.

Justin: I wasn’t surprised at all to see him actually act. The opinion that people put on him is merely a bias that they feel should be on Pattinson. However as this movie proves that’s not the case at all. I remember writing in my hype post that he would be great in it and I’m happy to say I don’t have to eat my words. He is actually teaming up with Cronenberg again in his next movie, whenever it gets released.

Nathan: I wasn’t surprised either, I saw him in Water for Elephants and I thought he did a great job.

Justin: Nathan, you just said it was surprising! I know my answer to this, but would you watch this movie again?

Nathan: I meant for people who aren’t me, I was definitely not suprised, but a lot of people may be. I won’t see it in theatres again, I will probably grab it when it comes out on Blu-Ray and then watch it.

Justin: For myself it would have to be a release with lots of substantial extras to it. The movie wasn’t enough for me to go out and watch it again. As I said earlier, it succeeded in what it wanted to be. It wanted to be a philosophical adventure of a billionaire’s mental breakdown over the idea of death. It was that, yes, but it wasn’t a movie that I was excited by. The acting was good, but the pacing was just too slow and that’s coming from somebody who likes slow movies.

Nathan: I definitely think that extras can do nothing but add to this movie, I want to see it with a comentary track, I think that would make the movie that much better.

Justin: Yes, a commentary track would be interesting. I feel like there is a lot behind the movie that was never shown on camera, so the extras would provide a lot of information into the film as whole. So Nathan, I don’t have anything else I’d want to bring up, what about you?

Nathan: Here’s me going off about music again. There was very little music in this moive, there was the opening music, a little bit during certain scenes, nothing too important though, and the creidts. This moive thrived in silence, the quite was its comfort zone, it took that silence and made you feel uncomfortable, made you feel intruiged and made you feel like there was a sense of depression in everything that was happening.

Justin: Notably whenever inside the limo the sound design had absolutely no sound coming from outside the limo. This provided a nice contrast whenever the door to the limo would open and the ‘real world’ would spill in. The music: minimalistic as you said and I think that was a strength for the movie. Music wouldn’t have made sense in the context of this film. The music at the end made the ending that much more wonderful, to me anyways.

Nathan: I agree completely, I think that the silence spoke way louder than a lot of the music I’ve heard in movies in the last few years.

Justin: Nathan, what are your pros, cons and score for Cosmopolis?

Nathan: Pros: This moive acomplished everything it wanted to and did it well, if not confusingly. The acting from everyone was great, especially the last scene between Paul Giamattie and Rob Pattinson. The silence is another pro for me, usually movies without music drive me nuts, but this movie did everything right with the dialouge making music completely unnecessary.

Cons: I have no desire to spend more money on this moive until it comes out on Blu-Ray, at all. I’ll tell my friends to see it, but not to see it in theatres, that’s not something a movie should do, you should HAVE to see a movie in theatres and then enjoy it so much that you see it again and again. This movie was VERY pretentious in everything it did, to the point of almost alienating the audience if you don’t look beyond what is happening at the front of the movie. 3/5

Justin: Pros: The acting was great, and for what the film was the camera work and direction was technically impressive. The score worked well in the moments it was there and the sound design was impressive in its simplicity.

Cons: Alienation is a great way to put it, this movie wasn’t enjoyable to me. While watching it my mind would wander off into the most absurd corners of my mind for some sort of entertainment. The ending was great, like the last twenty minutes, but it didn’t make up for the first 90 minutes that came before it.

Technically a success, acting wise a success, as a film I’d go out of my way to see again? Not so much. 2/5

Nathan: And that brings our total score to a 5/10. A truely mediocre score for such a legendary film maker.

Justin: I still have faith for Cronenberg to pull another great film out of somewhere, Cosmopolis just wasn’t that film to me. Maybe when I rewatch it or debate with my friends about its meaning I’ll come to respect it more, but at this point it just wasn’t for me.


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