Wednesday, 13 June 2012

In Cinemas This Week - Cosmopolis (2012, David Cronenberg)

This week a new film by David Cronenberg is released in UK cinemas; a cinematic event from one of the world's most renowned auteurs. Armed with a back-catalogue of notorious films his works are steadfast revealings of the human condition, unmissable unique films despite being hard pills to swallow at the best of times. Working from Don DeLillo's novel of the same name, Cosmopolis stars Robert Pattinson as a young billionaire travelling across Manhattan. His mission? a haircut, but the story looks to explore the state of modern civilisation and its next evolutionary step - transitions are Cronenberg's calling card and here he looks to reinvent Pattinson over night.

Last years' A Dangerous Method boasted some fine performances and costumes but only slightly rippled the waters, it was a well handled drama but Cronenberg's presence felt interchangeable. With his new film Cosmopolis we can only hope the director has rekindled some of his magic, the ability to show rather than tell. In his career he's shown audiences some of the most unforgettable sights; the chilling swimming pool orgy in Shivers (1975), James Woods pulling a gun out of his own stomach in Videodrome (1983), and the most unconventional of sex scenes involving Rossana Arquette's open wound in Crash (1996), these to name but a few. In A Dangerous Method - a fine drama though it may be - we were at the dawn of psychoanalysis with the difficult relationship that spawned it. As Freud and Jung wrestled over their thesis on Man's relationship with repression we were bombarded with lengthy conversations and letter writing aided by voice-over, not the cinematic tools you'd expect from Cronenberg despite the story harbouring his obsession over sex and repression. 

In the trailer for Cosmopolis (see below) there are some startling images in the short footage we're given, images that point to Cronenberg doing what he does best - creating visual metaphors. By channelling Don DeLillo's novel hopefully he has succeeded this time. The trailer also evokes some of the Canadian director's previous work, the slick but sterile high living of Robert Pattinson's Eric brings to mind the lifestyle of the Mantle twins in the modern gothic tragedy Dead Ringers (1988). With the novel/film being set almost entirely in a limo with sex overtly present how can one not think of Crash, the cult who's only source of sexual satisfaction stems from release through automobile accidents. Man's relation with technology and the next evolutionary step has been at the heart of the Cronenberg project and in Cosmopolis these themes seem to be evoked once again. Whether this latest offering will be a perfect melding of artist and material or another weak induction from one of cinema's greatest working minds, will have to be judged this coming friday.