This Thursday, moviegoers around the world will be able to see a special premiere of Robert Pattinson’s new film, Cosmopolis. While the film’s marketing might suggest otherwise, the movie is actually happening in real time as we’re experiencing it. You might call it a “virtual premiere.” That’s because parts of the movie will be shown on screen before audiences in New York, London, and Paris. Then, after the movie ends, our smartphones and social media will alert us that more is yet to come. We’ll have our own private premiere then. It will just be us and the movie.
The Film’s Premise
Set in a near-future New York City—specifically, in the year 2022—the film is a satirical look at the way technology affects our lives and how quickly our world as we know it changes as a result of new innovations.
The movie’s main character is Eric Draeger (Pattinson). At the start of the film, we learn that Draeger is the CEO of a tech company called Spectral Solutions. The film opens with Draeger trying to find a way to explain his firm’s latest product to potential investors. He shows them a 3D hologram of the future, complete with CGI elements that give the illusion of depth and full 360-degree motion. Suddenly, everything seems to be in slow motion as the hologram glitches, bringing to life what the future of artificial intelligence might look like.
From there, the story jumps forward one year, and Draeger is still trying to convince people his company’s AI product is valuable. While pitching his product to a group of CEOs, he demonstrates how a hologram can be a tool for business. The product gets the approval of the other CEOs, and they decide to purchase it. However, this comes with a catch: they want to use it to watch sports. The idea is to create a 360-degree TV experience—similar to what you get at a sports arena—and the AI product is the best at giving them that experience. This naturally leads to some issues with gambling and a blurred line between reality and fiction.
The Cast and Characters
While we don’t get to spend a lot of time with the characters in the movie, we learn a little bit about them through the narrative. The main heroine is Livia (played by Elizabeth Debicki), who is described by one reviewer as an “intelligent, sassy, and sexually liberated corporate predator.” It’s also stated that she might be one of the most beautiful women ever created in CGI.
One interesting tidbit about Livia is that she’s a genius when it comes to technology, which is why she’s willing to spend the money to buy a custom AI product to aid her in taking over the world. This leads to our next character, Draeger, who takes a liking to Livia and decides to help her in her quest for world domination. The other characters include the aforementioned Eric, who is a bit of a playboy; Charlie, his loyal assistant; and Max, their brilliant yet hapless son.
The film’s villain is a brilliant and evil computer scientist named Erich Alva (David Thewlis). He manages to get in touch with Livia via a secret online channel and tells her that he knows what she’s planning, and he’s not going to allow it to happen. Erich is the kind of personification of evil we’ve seen before in sci-fi films, as he wears all black and has a long, sharp nose. While he’s not the only villain of the piece, he might be the one we’re most concerned about.
Apart from the major characters mentioned above, the movie also features lesser-known actors like Michael Nyqvist and Max Schneider. Schneider, in particular, plays a pivotal role in ensuring the success of Livia’s plans. Overall, the cast is top-notch and features some of the best performances of the year. Some critics have even gone so far as to call it one of the greatest science fiction films of all time.
Just like any other good sci-fi / action adventure movie, Cosmo**Polis features a futuristic setting. The difference is that the filmmakers went all out and made the year 2022 look like it belongs in the year 2022. That means all the elements we usually associate with the future, like flying cars and holograms, are here.
The design and setting of the movie are truly revolutionary. While we might not always like the way Hollywood depicts the future, it’s a safe bet that we’ll appreciate the accuracy when we see it on the big screen. Unfortunately, 3D is not available for viewers in all markets, so it will be interesting to see how the filmmakers make up for this. Maybe they’ll use glasses that unleash the power of 3D by using polarized lenses or something equivalent.
The Film’s Visual Style
Another thing that makes this film stand out is the way it was shot. As we’ve already mentioned, while some aspects of the film might look like they belong in 2022 (like the holograms and 3D TV), it mostly takes place in a realistic and gritty New York City. This is the perfect marriage of stunning cinematography and a remarkably realistic location filming.
The New York City of 2027 looks just like you’d imagine it would based on the novel. It’s not a sunny day in Central Park, but it doesn’t rain buckets in the streets either. It’s gray, dirty, and often times, it rains so hard that you can’t even see the scenery outside your window. It looks and feels like a real place, which is important, because it’s what the audience should believe is coming next.
To top it off, the costumes and outfits of the characters are quite striking. While we might not always like the way Hollywood portrays the future, they at least know how to dress the women correctly. Livia is seen wearing some of the most gorgeous gowns ever put on film. They might not always be practical, but it’s still nice to see women looking decent instead of frightful as we so often see in other sci-fi flicks.
What Is Different About It Compared To Other Films?
The biggest difference is, again, the setting and the way the story is told. While other films might focus more on how technology is affecting our world, this one focuses on the way it’s changing our perspective on life. It’s as if somebody asked, “What would life in 2022 look like?” and the characters answer with stories. Their answers might not always sit well with you, but it’s an interesting exercise that makes the film stand out.
The way the story is told is similar to the way art is portrayed in the book. There are no heroes or villains in this film. Instead, we learn a lot about the characters through their stories. We get to see the world through their eyes and experience what it’s like to be inside their heads as they make decisions. Even the minor characters get a chance to speak on camera, giving us a peek into their minds as well.
The casting and directing in this film are both first-rate. While there are no weak links in the entire film, Elizabeth Debicki and Robert Pattinson give a standout performance, earning a spot on our list of best actors and actresses of 2022. The script is well-written and funny in parts, making it stand out among other science fiction films.
Even if you’ve read the book already or know it well, don’t hesitate to watch this film. You’ll get a sense of what the book is about, but you might also learn something new. It’s an important watch for anyone who enjoys intelligent and unique stories about the future. We can’t recommend it enough.