Friday, 1 November 2013
Cosmopolis — A film by David Cronenberg
"...Time is a corporate asset now. It belongs to the free market system. The present is harder to find. It is being sucked out of the world to make way for the future of uncontrolled markets and huge investment potentials. The future becomes insistent. This is why something will happen soon. Maybe today. To correct the acceleration of time and bring nature back to normal, more or less. You have to understand. The more visionary the idea, the more people it leaves behind. This is what the protest is all about. Visions of technology and wealth, the force of the cyber-capital that will send people to the gutter to retch and die. What is the flaw of human rationality? What? It pretends not to see the horror and death at the end of the scheme it builds. This is a protest against the future. They want to hold off the future. They want to normalise it, keep it from overwhelming the present. The future is always a wholeness, a sameness, we're all tall and happy there. This is why the future fails. It can never be the cruel happy place we want to make it. What would happen if they'd knew the head of Packer Capital was in the car? We know what the anarchist have always said. Yes. Tell me. The urge to destroy is a creative thing..."
Directed by David Cronenberg. Writing by David Cronenberg (screenplay) & Don DeLillo (novel). Produced by David Cronenberg, Paulo Branco, Renee Tab & Martin Katz. Music by Howard Shore & Metric. Cinematography by Peter Suschitzky. Film Editing by Ronald Sanders. Casting By Deirdre Bowen. Production Design by Arvinder Grewal. Art Direction by Joshu de Cartier. Costume Design by Denise Cronenberg. Release date(s): 25 May 2012 (Cannes), 8 June 2012 (Canada) & 17 August 2012 (US).
Cast: Eric Packer - Robert Pattinson, Didi Fancher - Juliette Binoche, Elise Shiffrin - Sarah Gadon, André Petrescu - Mathieu Amalric, Shiner - Jay Baruchel, Torval - Kevin Durand, Brutha Fez - K'naan, Jane Melman - Emily Hampshire, Vija Kinski - Samantha Morton, Benno Levin - Paul Giamatti, Anthony Adubato - George Touliatos, Ibrahim Hamadou - Abdul Ayoola, Dr. Ingram - Bob Bainborough, Danko - Zeljko Kecojevic, Michael Chin - Philip Nozuka & Kendra Hays - Patricia McKenzie.
28-year-old billionaire currency speculator/asset manager Eric Packer rides slowly across Manhattan amid traffic jams, in his state-of-the-art luxury stretch limousine office, to his preferred barber. Various visitors discuss the meaning of life and inconsequential trivia. The traffic jams are caused by a visit of the President of the United States and the funeral of Eric's favorite musician, a rap artist whose music he plays in one of his two private elevators. Despite devastating currency speculation losses over the course of the day, Packer fantasizes about buying the Rothko Chapel.
He meets his wife, Elise, in her taxi, for coffee, in a library, and outside a theater. She declines sex with him. Packer has sex with two other women. When after a day of poor trading he destroys a large part of his wealth, his wife takes this as a reason to dissolve their union. Anti-capitalist activists demonstrate on the street. They wave rats, and declare "A spectre is haunting the world: the spectre of capitalism". They spray-paint Packer's limo, and later one subjects him to a pieing. Packer learns that an assassin is out to kill him, but seems curiously uninterested in who the person might be.
In his car, his doctor performs his daily medical checkup. Eric worries about the doctor's finding that he has an asymmetrical prostate. As the currency speculation wipes out most of his fortune, Eric's world begins to disintegrate. Eventually he kills his bodyguard. At the destination, the barber, who knew his father, cuts Eric's hair on one side. The barber and limo driver discuss their respective careers driving cabs. The barber gives Eric his gun because he had thrown away the bodyguard's gun.
Eric follows a path of further self-destruction, visiting his potential murderer, former employee Richard Sheets a.k.a. Benno Levin. Eric seems ready to commit suicide, but instead deliberately shoots himself in the hand. Sheets/Levin, who feels adrift in the capitalist system, explains that Eric's mistake in speculating was looking for perfect symmetry and patterns in the currency market; 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 threatening to kill him, but does not show a final shot.
Further information here, here & here.