I will admit that I was a bit skeptical about the hype surrounding the upcoming release of the new film by director David Cronenberg, titled Cosmopolis. The trailer made it look pretty grim and dystopian-like, which was enough for me to put the film off, especially since I had already seen and enjoyed Cronenberg’s previous film, Cosmopolis, which also deals with themes of urban decay and pollution. However, I was still interested to see what this new film had to offer. Especially since it had been a while since Cronenberg made a dark film, and the last one I can think of was The Fly, which came out in 1986. Also, since we are in the middle of a pandemic, the message of the film, albeit complicated, was one that I think we can all get behind.
The Hype Surrounding Cosmopolis
Besides the fact that it was Cronenberg’s last film before retiring, the biggest thing that drew my attention to Cosmopolis was the hype surrounding it. Since its premiere at the Berlin Film Festival, where it won the festival’s prestigious Silver Bear, the film has been covered by nearly every major news outlet in the world, and it recently opened in theaters in the United States. The consensus seems to be that it is a daring and ambitious film that deserves to be seen by the masses, especially since it touches on such an important and topical subject matter, namely climate change. The Huffington Post even went as far as to say that it was “The most anticipated movie of the year!” That may very well be, and considering the subject matter, it is no surprise that Hollywood decided to make a movie about climate change. It is a subject that is certainly daunting and difficult to tackle in a cinematic manner, and it is high time that we had a film represent the issues that climate change raises.
Why David Cronenberg?
Now, to my delight, I found out that Cronenberg knew exactly what he was doing when he decided to tackle the complicated issue of climate change in a dramatic fashion. In a recent interview with Entertainment Tonight, he discussed how he hoped that the public would respond to the film when it came out. He explained that he wanted to make “the most difficult material accessible and interesting to as many people as possible”, and he definitely achieved that goal with Cosmopolis. The filmmaker also revealed that the film was particularly challenging to make because he wanted to portray extreme conditions that climate change will undoubtedly bring. When asked if he thought people would be better prepared for the effects of climate change when they watched the film, Cronenberg answered with a resounding yes.
The Harsh Reality Of Climate Change
In a very real way, watching Cosmopolis is like being transported to the bleak future that climate change has in store for us. The film opens with a vision of a city that is a mess, polluted beyond recognition and overrun by rats. We then follow the story of a young man, played by Robert Pattinson, who is tasked with organizing a city-wide effort to combat climate change. The main plot point of the film is that the collapse of the environmental movement has made it nearly impossible to combat climate change, thanks to corporate corruption. The rats are there to foreshadow that this sentiment is quite true, as we see countless bites taken out of the leg of one of the main characters. The film is full of grim lessons and quite a bit of carnage, which is quite fitting for a film about climate change, I suppose.
Where Do I Sign Up?
Now, if you are a concerned citizen, where do you sign up? Obviously, you can’t sign up for climate change. You have to be specifically targeted to receive such a thing. However, you can sign up for environmentalism, which I think is what Cronenberg was trying to get at with this film. It is not often that we get to see such an important topic treated in a cinematic fashion, and, as previously noted, the last dark film to come out before the pandemic was The Fly, which was 14 years ago. I think we can all agree that we need more films like this, and I for one am looking forward to seeing how Cronenberg tackles such an important topic one last time before he retires.