Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

David Cronenberg Keeps Challenging Audiences in 'Cosmopolis'

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

David Cronenberg Keeps Challenging Audiences in 'Cosmopolis'

Article excerpt

ORLANDO, Fla. --

At 69, Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg has had his share of movie making ups and downs. His 40 years in film are a perfect illustration of the roller-coaster career.

He was the young prince of shock and horror with "The Brood," "Scanners," "Videodrome" -- films that by the late 1980s had led him to "The Fly" and "Dead Ringers."

There followed a fallow decade, when he made everything from "Naked Lunch" to "Spider," interesting films which didn't find an audience.

Then, "A History of Violence" and "Eastern Promises" gave him a comeback.

But never one to rest on genre success, Mr. Cronenberg went and made "A Dangerous Method," about the Freud-Jung rivalry in the early years of psycho-therapy. Audiences didn't line up to lie on the couch for that one. And he's followed that with a film adaptation of novelist Don DeLillo's "abstract" and "metaphysical" drama about the super-disconnected super-rich, "Cosmopolis," a film that stars Robert Pattinson but that will challenge audiences in ways "Twilight" never could.

"There are some projects that you cannot dumb down," Mr. Cronenberg says. "Not without destroying them. If I couldn't adapt the novel as it was with the dialogue as it was it wouldn't be worth making the movie."

"Cosmopolis" follows a young lion of finance (Pattinson) as he rides, in his luxuriously appointed limo, from Wall Street across town to the barber he has used since childhood. Over the course of a long day, Eric Packer meets colleagues, has sex and undergoes a prostate exam, shrugs off staggering market losses and ponders the "Occupy"-styled anarchy outside the limo's windows and his lack of connection to that world. Eric speaks "in philosophical tropes" -- "Talent is more erotic when it's wasted."

In preserving Mr. DeLillo's distinct way with dialogue, Mr. Cronenberg was willing to run the risk of losing viewers.

"These people in this movie are very articulate, very hyper," he says. "They're intellectuals, but I don't think the audience needs to understand every kernel of what they say. …

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