Best Movies of All Time + 2012

Cosmopolis (2012)

Grandiose, damn well near impenetrable dialogue, deliciously dark humour, and top notch performances (Paul Giamatti is incredible in this, and hot damn Juliette Binoche is still fine as all hell) tied up in what has to be the best shot movie of the year and of recent memory. It was a really nice way to spend an hour and a half. Super rich asset manager does not need haircut, wants one anyway, and gets in his tricked out limo to go the barber. Fucks some women on the way, has a bunch of meetings, fucks some more women. The film is basically a series of gratuitous monologues ranging in topic from big picture politics and finance (and the picture is so damn big it crosses over into the abstract more often than not) to the shape and form of our protagonist's prostate.I'm not even going to pretend otherwise; most of the dialogue went way over my head. It's often rapid-fire, abstractly philosophical pseudo-intellectual bullshit, and of course I'm only calling it such because I didn't get most of it. Every once in a while though something will click, and I'll be like, "YEAH! I GOT THAT! I know what they're talking about now!! :D" and I'll feel supersmart for a bit, but then the movie will go on and I'll get back to appreciating the cinematography in lieu of engaging with the subject matter. This didn't bother me. It was oddly enjoyable. While Cosmopolis has nothing on the Cronenberg of old, it was still really nice to see the director revisit the stranger side of cinema. I'd really love to see that very particular brand of body-horror make a bit of a comeback, remade with modern technology. (How awesome was Splice?) Hollywood, make it happen please. I demand it. I can't imagine I'm the only one feeling this way. Pattinson plays Eric Packer to perfection. I still haven't quite decided whether he's just an obsessive rich douchebag who gives zero shits, or an autistic idiot savant; he walks that line without fault. Is it cool to say this now, or must we all still give the poor guy shit for Twilight?
Packer's bodyguard, played by Kevin Durand was another wonderful highlight, but as I said everyone in this brought their A game, which no doubt made all the difference. Samantha Morton has a particularly highbrow speech that a less skilled performer would have butchered atrociously. She made it work, so props for that. I really didn't understand any of what she was saying, but she, like everyone else on the cast, seemed to be having a blast with it, which in turn means that we do too. It's infectious.One of the things I really enjoyed about this one is the sense of contrast and alienation that comes through frequently via some tricky filmmaking. Packer gets in his superpimp limo and suddenly the world outside and the world inside are, well, worlds apart. He even has a team of bodyguards to make sure it stays that way - he wouldn't want the filthy masses infiltrating his meticulously looked after inner sanctum.
Usually, high budget films tend to have an all encompassing, throbbing hard on for ridiculously shallow depth of field during conversations. Hey, that's cool, you've got the megabudget cameras, go for it. Trouble is, it has been overused to the point of utter saturation, and it no longer really achieves its originally intended goal; that of parting the actor from the messy and unwanted background noise. Instead, it's just another convention amongst a series of conventions that Must Be Followed.
Here, almost every shot has a nice and clear view of everything, and instead of relying on all that boring blur (and I just fully realized how very sick of it I am, actually) it opts for using movement and framing instead to convey its message. Mise-en-scène over tired technique. This is probably the main reason I enjoyed looking at Cosmopolis so damn much. (I'm also pretty happy right now to have finally found a contextually meaningful use for that term.) Packer's self-destructive downward spiral initiated by a bad financial decision on his part is quite absorbing, and what I would have called obtuse and overly verbose soliloquies at the start really became the overlying signature of the film, a part of its unique rhythm and appeal. If you're that way inclined the film (and the novel it's based on) also tie heavily into, and I can only assume comment on, real world events. The novel came out shortly after the 9/11 attacks on America, and of course the adaptation is now on the heels of the whole Occupy Wall St. movement. The story takes place around 2000 so there's also all that bubble stuff going on that I don't much understand. But if that sort of stuff floats your boat, this one is a must watch. You should probably get around to it even if it doesn't though, too.

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Relevant to: Cosmopolis (2012) + 2012