Cosmopolis and Introspection: Gatsby for the 21st Century

I’m having a blast writing these. I hope y’all are having as much fun with them as I am. It makes the time watching all 26 movies seem like I didn’t just spend a bunch of time watching movies… 

Movie number three jumps on the list a bit because I’m so in love with the writing. The script is beautifully done, whether the subject is always pleasant or not. Cosmopolis is a baffling, confusing, irrevocably consuming movie. I loved it. I also hated it. 

The quick and dirty: 28 year old billionaire wants a haircut. The president is in town. There’s a famous person’s funeral. The roads are all crazy, slow, bumper-to-bumper traffic. He’s in his limo which is more like a small apartment. People come and go. He screws his mistress. Still trying to get across town for a haircut. Talks to his wife (she’s more for show… a merging of dollars rather than people). Talks to more people. Gets a prostate exam… In the limo… while we watch. Riots break out. Screws his security chick (warning: kind of explicit and they have a conversation while they’re doing it so it’s not one to just skip). Loses all his money. Still trying to get a haircut. Wife leaves him. Not for screwing other people, but because he’s broke now. He kills someone. Gets half a haircut. Eats some food. Surprise ending. *Note: This might not be the right order of events, but all that shit happens. 

It doesn’t sound like an exceptional movie, but there are reasons it’s well worth watching. For one, it’s set in a near future world (from when it was made in 2012) or at least it seems to be. That’s intriguing given that those things were not occurring so much in the United States at that time, but since have. The economy, much as it does in the world of Cosmopolis, shifted and the effects were far seen. The second is the intense introspection that comes from the plot. The feeling with which I was left following the initial viewing of this movie was the same that I got from The Great Gatsby. It made me question wealth and the economy. It made me look inward and reflect upon societal standards. Basically, it made me think and I like movies that are more than just two hours of entertainment. However, this is also the reason I hated it. It’s easy to get sucked into the philosophy and have trouble coming back to reality. To become quite that introspective was difficult for me when immediately following the movie, I had to do reality. Sigh. 

Cosmopolis is based on the book of the same name and I desperately want to read it. In fact, it’s number one on my Christmas list currently. It’s odd, there’s no way around that, but it’s so incredibly beautiful in it’s oddness. At one point, author Don DeLillo writes:

 “There are dead stars that still shine because their 

light is trapped in time. Where do I stand in this light, 

which does not strictly exist?” 

As a writer, I can appreciate that snippet. I strive to write something that sticks with a reader as that quote sticks with me. The movie follows the same pattern. The lines are strange without context, and sometimes even jarringly so in context, but they stick with you. From RP telling someone, “You’re forcing me to be reasonable. I don’t like that.” to the wife’s ability to literally smell sex on him, it’s an intriquing movie. 

Robert Pattinson surprised me in this one. It was the first movie of his I’d seen that stepped away from the softer roles. From Edward Cullen to Jacob Jankowski (yes, he’s been both Edward and Jacob) the roles were more about the romance of the soul and not the complexity of the character. They were poetic. Eric Packer (RPs billionaire in this one) is not a poetic character. He’s a shocking, jarring, pragmatic yet idealistic character that makes seemingly random decisions based on his own logic and not so much those around him. He reminds me of Gatsby in his quest for something more. He reminds me of us all in his drive to find that thing that satisfies him. RP chamilioned his way into the role, leaving behind the romance of his other characters (even the one from Haunted Airman) to play Eric. He’s often a bastard, almost always selfish, and overall not someone I’d want to hang out with regularly. However, you can see there’s more to the character than that and those glimmers of more are what make him interesting. 

Cosmopolis is one of my favorites, even if it often makes me uncomfortable in my own thoughts, examining my own selfish tendencies and how they are reflected in society. I’ve seen it several times since the initial viewing, the ending a captivating example of how life changes in an instant. If you’re interested in something that will make you think, make you question the basics, make you dream about more, this is the movie to try. 

Now, I have to go find the book…