Don DeLillo

Culture Warrior

Warning: This article contains possible spoilers for Cosmopolis. At some point about halfway through David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis, Vija Kinsky (Samantha Morton) informs young billionaire asset manager Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson) that the chaotic protestors wreaking havoc outside the windows of the state-of-the-art, impenetrable limousine 2.0 they occupy subscribe to an anarchist philosophy that holds destruction itself to be a creative act. Implicitly citing the work of economist Joseph Schumpeter, Kinsky then points out (perhaps ironically, perhaps not) that capitalism is also a form of “creative destruction”: the market moves through cyclical ebbs and flows, older resources must be exploited in new fashions, the seemingly new is always replaced by the purportedly antiquated, and so on. This view of destroying the old as a means in of itself to produce something new also emboldens the work of productive critique, a practice in which Cosmopolis (as both novel and film) is heavily and centrally invested in terms of its narrative and intellectual preoccupations. Cosmopolis is no doubt a strange and unique film, a provocation as necessary as it is unwelcome in the wake of Hollywood’s stock cloning practices. That the film stars Pattinson, an actor both beloved and despised because his astronomical fame has been created by this Hollywood, highlights the film’s inevitably polarizing difference all the more. Cosmopolis is a sort of narrative “essay film,” at once a polemic without urgency, a manifesto that doesn’t design a way out, and an apocalyptic suicide note too disillusioned with and desensitized in the […]


Aural Fixation - Large

Music and sound are not just elements that underscore select scenes in David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis, they are each specifically discussed and used in the story itself. Cosmopolis follows 28-year-old billionaire Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson) as he drives around Manhattan over the course of a day, trying to get from one end of the city to the other to get a haircut. A seemingly simple premise, but as any Cronenberg fan (or those who have read Don DeLillo’s novel) know, it does not stay simple for long. It is clear that Eric is incredibly rich and his wealth has caused him to become removed from (although still amused by) the general population – a point that is further driven home as he travels through town in a showy, tricked out, bulletproof white stretch limousine. The score, created by composer Howard Shore and indie rock band Metric, may start the film at a kinetic pace with “White Limos” (which almost echoes the opening to U2’s “Where The Streets Have No Name”), but once Eric enters his limo it is not just the music that is suddenly stripped away, all noise evaporates once he is inside. We learn that Eric had lined his limo with cork to eliminate street noise and it is this lack of ambient noise that makes every move, breath, and grunt in his limo sound all the more intrusive and off-putting. Cronenberg does not let up with this complete lack of ambience, and it makes the expansive limo feel no bigger than […]



Whoa. Alright. If Robert Pattinson is trying to break out of his mold, he couldn’t have picked a better project than David Cronenberg‘s Cosmopolis. At least if he was looking for a movie where he gets to pee in a car, he picked well. Based on the book from Don DeLillo, the basic synopsis involves a millionaire rocking his way across Manhattan. From the teaser trailer, it looks like 80s-style Cronenberg with a touch of Jacob’s Ladder. Fair warning. It’s got some large-breasted nudity and some interesting gun violence. If Robert Pattinson was trying to break out of his mold… Check it out for yourself:

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published: 01.27.2015
published: 01.27.2015
published: 01.26.2015
published: 01.26.2015

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