W.D. Minihan

Catch me in the NARRATIVE, jackin’ your MECHANISMS

Film Academy 2: We Need A Haircut

For the scene analysis I decided to pick the final scene from David Cronenberg’s “Cosmopolis” (2012), a film adaptation of the novel of the same name by Don DeLillo.

There was one large pattern that I noticed across each of the 3 “perceptions”, which all reinforce the psyche of Paul Giamatti’s character. The pattern is simply the increasing pressure of indecisiveness.
The dialogue ping-pongs between silence and Giamatti’s nonsense rationalization. The music that creeps in for the second half goes through a constant build up that is never actually realized.
The camera work reinforces this. The first 3rd of the scene shows Giamatti pacing back and forth away from and towards the camera, showing not only an unwillingness to commit to the act of killing Robert Pattinson’s character but also poorly rationalizing his somatic reactions (e.g. “Korean panic attack”) to make himself believe in his own justifications. He then moves to a low angle behind Pattinson, displaying his position of power and moving the composition to read from left to right. To reference Ebert’s guide, this swaps and balances the low angle perspective, suggesting that Pattinson being placed on the right shows his dominant role in this situation. Giamatti is subject to his own neuroses and actually needs Pattinson to reach his desired resolution.
Pattinson’s resignation to the entire encounter serves as juxtaposition to Giamatti’s anxiety and indecision, made apparent by Giamatti’s implied confession that his justifications are a self-delusion.