On The Road / Cosmopolis Review from Premiere Magazine

 

After the death of his father in the beginning of the 50’s, Sal Paradise, young writer, go with his friend Dean Moriarty for a liberating odyssey on US roads. On the menu : sex, drugs and be-bop. At the end, a mythic novel.

Even if it has been quoted a thousand times in theater, Jack Kerouac’s novel, manifesto of the Beat Generation, had never been adapted. Walter Salles did it, with the experience he gained thanks to The Motorcycle Diaries, another road movie-biography happening in the 50’s. Good news : the Brazilian director did pretty well, imposing to its movie the same jazzy rhythm as the one who inspired the young writer years before. Eric Gauthier is behind the camera, and the fact that he shoots with the camera on his shoulder conveys the permanent movement of the characters, who by changing their points of view, managed to have a better comprehension of the world. In front of the perfect Sam Riley, witness and actor at the same time, Garrett Hedlund make us forget the disappointing ‘’Tron-Legacy’’ by playing with endless energy the charismatic Dean Moriarty, insatiable explorer of new vehicles, above all in love, – he was training every position, with one or several people at the same time, swinging both ways. Kirsten Dunst and above all Kristen Stewart are very good playing girlfriends always up for it, but inevitably disappointed when they discover that fidelity is not compatible with freedom. In hindsight, the travel of these pioneers can be seen as limited if we compare it to more radicals experiences of following decades, but it has the merit to be the first, and the actors succeed in sharing with us the excitement of the discovery.



 

New York is on war footing. The President of the USA is passing through and demonstrations are threating to drown Manhattan in chaos. Eric Packer, 28 years old millionaire, doesn’t care. No matter what happens, he will go get his haircut on the other side of town.

We’re not going to lie, whether we like David Cronenberg’s recent movies, we were seriously missing the filmmaker of Videodrome and Crash. Pop open the champagne because he’s back in every shot of Cosmopolis. Even though he’s adapting someone else’s work, the Canadian filmmaker recognized his young/offsprings in the novel of DeLillo. The absurd and persistant odyssey of a young wolf in finance who parades collegues, mistresses and doctors in his high-tech limo. When he reaches his destination, he might be left with nothing (the Japanese currency threatens his waller, his wife is more and distant, it’s getting unbearable.) but the answer of the question that haunts him, without being able to articulate it: Can the one who possesses everything still desire anything else?

Cronenberg made sure that all his obsessions punctuate his route, whether they are intellectual (the search for ‘another’ reality) or carnal/physical (another scene that will make people talk, Packer learns that his prostate asymmetrical). Enthroned in the back seat of his limousine Robert Pattinson reveals a deepness that gets more & more fascinating as his character gets closer to hittng rock bottom/gets closer to the abyss. The fear that surrenders his face in the last moments doesnt belong only to this anti-hero that arrived at the point of no return, but it’s also the fear of an actor who tests his limits with an unsupected bravery. With a feverish and decadent ride in Hell, Cosmopolis proves that he’s not done testing them.

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