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Cosmopolis

Year: 2012
Production Co: Alfama Films
Director: David Cronenberg
Writer: David Cronenberg
Cast: Robert Pattinson, Sarah Gadon, Samantha Morton, Jay Baruchel, Juliette Binoche, Paul Giamatti

David Cronenberg and Robert Pattinson evidently had a much better time working together on this film than you'll have watching it, as they teamed up again soon after for Maps to the Stars. If you want to start anywhere on the Cronenberg/Pattinson oeuvre, go straight to that film and give this avant-garde, experimental bore a miss.

A rich financier (Pattinson) drives around New York in the back of a limo, drifting glaze-eyed from one adventure and episode to the next in an attempt to reach a barber and get his hair cut, none of it adding up to anything much.

Outside there seems to be some sort of anti 1-percent protest descending like a zombie apocalypse, while inside the car, he watches his business empire lose more money by the minute after a wrong bet against Chinese currency.

And all the while people from his frosty girlfriend (Sarah Gadon) to advisors like Samantha Morton – who can spout officious business-speak in an endless stream just like Gunnery Sergeant Hartman spewing abuse in Full Metal Jacket – appear and disappear after another strange exchange or monologue.

Eventually he ends up holed up in a crummy apartment with a low level employee (Paul Giamatti) who wants to kill him, where it all turns even more Machiavellian, Shakespearian and nonsensical than it was in the limo.

It's less than two hours long but because there's no script, just a long series of people talking existential tosh ('the urge to destroy is a creative act', 'this is a protest against the future'), it feels much longer. It's all subtext and allegory and no plot, and it's lathered on so thick you'll lose interest in what the allegory is all about long before you untangle it.

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