Director: David Cronenberg
Writer: Don DeLillo

A rich and young business executive working in Manhattan decides to take a trip across town to visit his barber. It is a day of protests in the streets and what was supposed to be a quick zip between two meetings ends up taking an entire day. Perfect, he conducts various meetings he had scheduled right inside his limo. As he trudges along towards his destination at a turtle’s pace, backed up in traffic, the world around him begins to collapse. The streets get crowded with protesters rioting against the powers that be.

A series of encounters, most of them allowing our main character to wax philosophical about the meaning of power, money, and luck. There is sex but it’s unspectacular. Everything is a waste. There is one man who wants to kill him. He tracks him down only to find it’s really another version of his self-hatred.

Overall nihilistic view of the power structures in place. It’s hard to tell whether he deserves his power, or if he inherited it. I personally think he earned it but doesn’t want it anymore but is unable to extricate himself from the “machine”. So he becomes what he hates, but tries to understand it… discovers psychosis. Very snappy dialog, with many a poetic turns of phrases. The kind of ruminations you recognize immediately as having a truth. Power sentences.

What’s impressive here is the writing as it is … but other than that, the structure is not engaging. Works as a great advertisement for the book. Another human imprint of high intellect. But too occult to be cracked. Beware before entering.

3 Stars.


Categories: Notes

2 replies »

  1. Wow, I didn’t realize you had revived this until yesterday when I started my own WordPress (Posterous is shutting down soon). Great to have this back.

    I haven’t seen this film yet but I read the book. I loved the writing of the book but the story felt too mechanical, the ending left me flat. I’m curious how you feel about Cronenberg and where this fits with his other work. It seemed like it was going to be a return to form after a spate of relatively safe projects, but did it come across that way?

    • Hey Walter. I think this fits in right after Crash. Sort of a companion piece to the claustrophobic atmosphere of that movie. I think he did a good job of making something cinematic despite the dialog being about dialog. I haven’t read the book but I doubt that much was changed. You literally need a thesaurus to understand what they are saying. It’s definitely not for everyone. I would say it’s for fans of Don Dellilo’s writing style but it has a few Cronenberg flourishes. Definitely “artsy” stuff that will fly over most people’s heads. Anyone who likes it will most likely be interested to read more Don Dellilo than to watch another Cronenberg. But if you like both it’s definitely a good merging of styles.

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