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The story is as sleek as its limo is symbolically lugubrious. While being driven around New York, a zomboid billionaire loses a great deal and, by doing so, becomes human.

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The prostate exam, like so much else in the movie, takes place in the limo. Eric, you see, is a contingent creation, an accretion of habits and conventions, a postmodern construction. Eric may work with money, but only in the most abstract sense.

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A series of events, some involving the mysteriously unpredictable yuan, forcibly and with escalating violence shake Eric out of his torpor. Nearly affectless at first, Mr. Certainly, with his transfixing mask and dead stare, he looks the part he plays here and delivers a physical performance that holds up to a battery of abuses, including that prostate exam and some anticlimactic tears.

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The difficulties of shooting in such a tight space, which seems to expand and contract depending on the scene as if the car were breathing , are conspicuous but rendered invisible by his masterly filmmaking. Some of this disengagement is certainly intentional. But these banalities, which here are accompanied by glazed eyes, are also to the point: the world is burning, and all that some of us do is look at the flames with exhausted familiarity.

Eric conducts a great deal of business inside his limo, a dark, gleaming space in which different monitors are roused to virtual life like luminous underwater creatures.

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  • From inside the limo, these images surround Eric like a wraparound movie screen and can look as ersatz as the rear-projection in an old Hollywood film. Like his prostate, his hair is now distinctly asymmetrical.


    Actually it looks ridiculous, especially on an actor famed for being so perfectly coiffed. He has a scene with Morton where they discuss the convergence of man and computer.

    Cosmopolis: The Hidden Agenda of Modernity, Toulmin

    So this motif of asymmetry is trying to tell him something he missed, something that will only turn into revelation during his slow showdown with his pursuer in an abandoned building, in a refuse-filled room with a Porta-Potty in one corner—the same sort of ruined Cronenbergian space as in the climaxes to Videodrome , The Fly , and Dead Ringers. Royals in their pyjamas eating mutton.

    One of the most respected publications on film, uniting experienced critics with new writers. The prospect of spending an hour and a half with people lacking in notable virtue, alluring vice, or any apparent interest, may seem like an unproductive exercise in forced empathy—but consider this skepticism a function, as opposed to a fault, of these tightly orchestrated, seemingly soporific character studies. Although there have always been intrepid critics and cinephiles who have engaged with films belonging to the non-narrative avant-garde, there has existed a perception that such films, operating as they do on somewhat different aesthetic precepts, could be considered a separate cinematic realm, one that even the most dutiful critic could engage with or not, as he or she saw fit.

    This is the archive of articles selected from the print version of Cinema Scope magazine.

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    • David Cronenberg adapts Don DeLillo’s novel. It mostly takes place in a limo.!