Robert Pattinson

Cosmopolis – review

Cosmopolis, the latest effort from David Cronenberg after the distinctly lacklustre A Dangerous Method, is very much a film of its time, feeling remarkably prescient in today’s current economic climate. Utter wealth coupled with riots and strikes, Cosmopolis sees the young, incredibly wealthy Eric Packer (a remarkable turn from Robert Pattinson) make his way across Manhattan upon the pretext of receiving a haircut. As he travels in his luxurious car, Packer both continually assesses his current financial venture, as well as holding meetings with various acquaintances, each making their own distinctive impression.

Packer, newly wed, frequently happens upon his new young wife; the pair are clearly strangers to one another, and as Eric indulges in numerous infidelities, his wife Elise (Sarah Gadon) remarks, almost disinterestedly, that he smells of sex. Elise, a burgeoning poet, refuses to have sex with Packer whilst she is working, requiring the need to reserve her energy for her creative outputs. The pair exist clearly apart from one another, and Packer appears to have little feeling towards anyone, often seeming a mere empty shell of a man.

Some may question the narrative, feeling that the stylish direction (at all times utterly involving) belies a shallow plot, but perhaps that is rather the point: the film is surely making a truly profound statement about the very emptiness of such an existence; Cosmopolis’ existential, nihilistic quality remains wonderfully Kafkaesque . One visitor to Packer’s limo questions his wanton sending of money as he expresses a desire to purchase numerous priceless works of art, questioning what such spending is like. Cronenberg’s film doesn’t attempt to offer any solutions, but rather involves its audience in Packer’s questionably soulless existence, prompting them away from any passivity.

The cast, including Juliette Binoche and Samantha Morton, are all wonderful, but there is little doubt that this remains, at all times, Pattinson’s film. Gone is the teen angst that so appealed to the Twilight fan base,Pattinson’s Packer is, despite his relative youth, entirely world-weary, exhausted and eventually disillusioned, remaining at all times eminently watchable. Cosmopolis may be a film borne out of the current economic climate, but its continued relevance is not to be underestimated.

4/5

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Cosmopolis – trailer

After the initial promising teaser, the full-length trailer for David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis further reinforces the previously instilled high expectations the teaser first placed.

To reiterate my earlier impressions, Cronenberg’s latest effort looks set to be a return to form after the incredibly lack-lustre A Dangerous Method. Robert Pattinson, seemingly determined to shake off his teen pin-up status, is making increasingly interesting role decisions: his often emotionless exterior appears to be perfect casting.

Based on Don DeLillo’s novel, Pattinson plays Eric Packer, a young New York stock market multi-millionaire. The film follows Packer as he makes his way across Manhattan, travelling in his customised limousine to get a haircut.

With a great cast, including Samantha Morton, Paul Giamatti and Juilette Binoche, Cosmopolis certainly shouldn’t let down on the performance front.

The film, both in terms of narrative and style, looks utterly exuberant; I eagerly anticipate it.

Bel Ami – Trailer

Robert Pattinson, through the huge success enjoyed by the Twilight films, has surely for some become indelibly linked with his incarnation as Edward Cullen. Pattinson appears to be doing his best to shed his teen- friendly image, taking on a role in David Cronenberg’s next film and starring in the upcoming Bel Ami, based upon the 1885 Guy de Maupassant novel.

Maupassant’s novel details the social rise of Georges Duroy as he seduces his way through the upper echelons of society. Pattinson plays the enigmatic Duroy, with Uma Thurman, Christina Ricci and Kristen Scott Thomas starring as his numerous love interests.

Ever a sucker for a good period drama, especially when centred upon an amoral anti-hero, Bel Ami genuinely excites me. Pattinson, under the right director and away from the oppressive nature of the Twilight films could yet still prove himself as a fine actor. Certainly his performance in Water for Elephants showed him more than capable of holding his own against his more experienced co-stars.

As a lover of the perfectly crafted, similarly amoral Dangerous Liaisons, I am hopeful that Bel Ami  will prove itself to be as wonderfully realised and ruthless in its scenes of amoral depravity.

Water for Elephants – review

Based on the popular novel by Sara Gruen, Water for Elephants is at times doggedly faithful to its source novel, an attempt at fidelity that is surely to the film’s detriment. In the adaptation process it would seem that there has been a failure to realise that a novel and a film are two entirely different mediums, it is simply not enough to replicate the novel onscreen, there has to be some attempt to translate the narrative into something that will engage a viewing audience.

Robert Pattinson, best known for his efforts in the Twilight films, plays Jacob Jankowski, a young man studying Veterinary Sciences at Cornell University. Before Jacob can begin his final exam which will provide his qualification, he is informed that his parents have been killed in a car crash and through poor financial investments have left Jacob without his home. Feeling lost, Jacob aimlessly wanders for hours, finally jumping onto a passing train that, unbeknownst to him, belongs to and carries The Benzini Brothers’ Most Spectacular Show on Earth. Jacob is quickly put to work: once it is found out that he is effectively a vet, owner August (Christopher Waltz) employs Jacob to look after the animals of the show.

In acquiring an elephant, named Rosie, August believes he has solved the financial problems the show has been experiencing. Convinced that Rosie will become a star attraction, August instructs Jacob to help train Rosie and prepare an act that will involve his young wife Marlena (Reese Witherspoon).

August, as described in the novel, is a violent paranoid schizophrenic, feared by the members of the show, he unashamedly beats animals and treats his wife with both cruelty and love. Jacob is filled with disgust at August, whilst quickly falling in love with Marlena.

Individually, the cast are all wonderful actors; unfortunately, as an ensemble each individual falls decidedly flat. Pattinson does his best, but there is no denying that there is little – If any – chemistry between his character and Witherspoon’s. Waltz too, is at his best when displaying August’s cruelty, but often this cruelty is hinted at rather than explicitly shown.

The novel itself, whilst admittedly sentimental, managed to balance its sentimentality by contrasting its depiction of violence, cruelty and sexuality, preventing the novel from falling into saccharine territory. Here, with any cruelty merely hinted at rather than overtly depicted, we see the effect after the event, decidedly lessening their impact, as well as their contrast to the melodramatic nature of the central relationship.

The novel features a dense first-person narrative, allowing the reader to familiarise themselves with the character’s innermost thoughts and feelings. The film, aside from a framing voice-over at the beginning and end of the film, largely dispenses with any attempt at first-person narration. Thus our opinion of Jacob is informed by other characters and their attitude towards him; unfortunately this is not enough to convince the viewer as to why we should empathise with Jacob, leaving the viewer caring little for his plight.

Through this the viewer fails to invest in the central romance, which supposedly provides the catalyst for the events of the film. This failure to engage the viewer, along with its rather mannered, ultimately slow style of pacing (a direct result of maintaining too much fidelity to the source novel) leaves the viewer disinterested in the film itself. Beautiful to look at, with impressive period details, Water for Elephants has little depth, making little attempt towards any form of character development.

2/5

The Twilight Saga: New Moon – Featured in The Ripple

The_Twilight_Saga-_New_Moon_poster

Following on from the huge box office success of Twilight, New Moon is the next instalment in author Stephanie Meyer’s thinly veiled metaphor for sexual abstinence.

Here, perpetually angst fillled Bella and Edward are forced to part ways, realising the danger his ‘kind’ present to her, he fears for her safety. Thus begins Bella’s downward spiral of depression-lasting several months, but only several seconds of exposition. With Edward out of the picture, it’s the turn of Jacob, Bella’s childhood friend who spends most of the film inexplicably shirtless, to take on the role of Bella’s protector.

Bella, in the wake of so many strong female characters in recent years, is irratatingly pallid, helpless and far too dependable on the men in her life, falling into despair at the loss of Edward. Obvious sexism aside,New Moon is dull and overlong with very little plot to sustain its running time. Whilst Catherine Hardwicke’s direction of Twilight succeeded in creating a fairly atmospheric and well shot rendition of the source novel, Chris Weitz’s direction of New Moon relies far too heavily on slow motion, making what should be the most entertaining moments of the films tedious and monotonous. Weitz struggles to find the balance between creating a teen drama and a fantasy film, with the film ultimately tipping towards the former, and as a result the fantasy elements seem superfluous at times.

The constant lingering looks between Bella and her love interests do little to develop any convincing feelings for the audience to engage with, the characters are so one-dimensional it’s almost impossible to understand what any of them see in each other.

In addition the acting hasn’t improved from the first film, with Robert Pattinson struggling to emote anything, whilst Kirsten Stewart brings very little range of depth to a character that is supposed to be the emotional focus of the film. Whilst fans of the franchise will no doubt be pleased with this latest instalment, with its record breaking box office success as testament to its popularity, New Moon is poorly edited, causing it to become needlessly confusing at times. It’s also gulity of taking itself far too seriously, treating the source material too reverentially, and lacks any narrative drive or tension.

1/5