Cosmopolis

Robert Pattinson and David Cronenberg seemed like an extremely odd pairing, and I was intrigued enough to go and see this film despite the several reservations I had read in reviews.

A young, exceedingly rich entrepreneur sets off on a journey across town in his cocooned limousine, and has short encounters with people along the way. The character is isolated from the majority of mankind, and passes through demonstrations, diners and a funeral almost as if he is in another dimension, not truly of this world.

The script is weighty and demanding – wordy monologues – and even when there is an exchange between two people, it’s more a two-way stream of consciousness than a dialogue. I often felt like I wanted to pause and rewind to make sure I hadn’t missed anything.

Pattinson is rarely off-screen, and for around 60% of the time carries it off well – being enigmatic and outside of normality has been, after all, his stock-in-trade up to now. There were occasions, though, when I felt as if he just didn’t understand what he was supposed to do, that he was lost, and that he didn’t have the weight to carry the script.  Juliette Binoche and Mathieu Amalric, by contrast, totally owned their cameos.

I was intrigued, never bored but sometimes a bit mystified, and came away with the sensation that I should read the book to get the full effect.

En Kongelig Affære – A Royal Affair

Now this is an interesting story, based around actual events.

The young sister of the English king George III is married off to an equally young king Christian VII of Denmark. He’s a bit disturbed, she’s lonely. Mads Mikkelsen is appointed as the king’s physician and you can guess the rest.

However, this is only one aspect of the story; far more absorbing are the historical, political and social issues brought to screen.

Set during the Age of Enlightenment in the second part of the18th century, the physician is influenced by philosophers such as Locke, Rousseau and Voltaire, and uses his friendship with the King to try to influence the Danish court to adopt more egalitarian policies.  It is both his success and failure which capture the imagination, and drive the story forward.

Not your common or garden fluffy period drama – this is social history brought to life.

Prometheus

NB: I have attempted to keep the opening paragraphs spoiler free.  Comments which contain spoilers occur towards the end of the post, and are preceded by A VERY LARGE WARNING J 

Having been actively avoiding reviews, comments and conversations about this film for the last couple of weeks, there was only one question to ask – epic, or epic fail?

Well. The opening 20 minutes were a real struggle due to a horrendously clunky script (it didn’t improve much later on tbh, but it was particularly painful during the plot exposition at the start).

I also found the last 20 minutes a tad tedious – it was blindingly obvious that the final scenes were actually going to provide the perfect stepping stone to The Sequel, and were thus a disappointment.

And in the middle was a mish-mash of body shock horror, science fiction action, holograms and existential soul searching. Oh, and an android.

The crux of the story seems to be a search for our biological ancestors, and how that ties in with the notion of god and faith. Blink, though, and you’ll miss it. A quick reference and a shallow script soon brushed this aside, leaving a whole lot of holes where the philosophising should have been.

Saving graces were some excellent individual performances – Michael Fassbender stole the show as the android with a questionable hidden agenda, and Idris Elba was great as the wise guy action hero captain of the spaceship.  I was less convinced by Charlize Theron and Guy Pearce, mainly because I didn’t understand their role in the plot.

On the whole, I’d say a disappointing 5 out of 10 – the eventual trilogy may prove to be the best sequence of films ever made, but much will have been sacrificed in this film if that turns out to be the case.

At this rate, I fear for Bladerunner 2 …

 

HERE BE SPOILERS …  

I have never felt the need to post spoilers before, and in general I deplore it.  But I was left with so many unanswered questions that I just have to pose some of them here, in the hope that someone can enlighten me on what I missed.  Don’t read if you haven’t seen the film, but please feel free to comment if you have an inkling. Oh and by the way, these are only a few of my questions – they could go on for a lot longer – like the guys in the video below …

  1. Why did the first alien Engineer have to sacrifice himself at all?  Why didn’t they send two and let them procreate?
  2. In fact, why weren’t there any female Engineers?
  3. What triggered the holograms?
  4. Why was Guy Pearce’s prosthetic make up so dreadful?
  5. Why was Charlize Theron even on the ship in the first place?
  6. If the alien DNA turned Fifield into – well, whatever it was, why did affect Holloway by producing little squirmy eye creatures, and why could it then impregnate and develop into an octopus-monster-baby inside Shaw in only a few hours?
  7. Why did David contaminate Holloway’s drink in the first place?
  8. Why did the Engineers want humans to visit their planet? Which when they got there, wasn’t their planet, but a place full of dangerous black goo? If they wanted to destroy humankind, why would they wait for a handful to land on the planet? Why wouldn’t they bring the black goo directly to Earth?
  9. What’s the connection between the black goo and the Engineers? Is it a bio-weapon, a lifeform, a prisoner?
  10. If the DNA match was 100%, shouldn’t they just be human, not white alien giants? Or, shouldn’t we be white alien giants?
  11. Why did the crew have no idea about the mission they were sent on? Why did they appear to have no training on how to respond when confronted by an alien planet/lifeform?