*** (out of four)
In writer-director David Cronenberg’s disturbing, oddly funny “Cosmopolis,” Pattinson’s inherent, detached restlessness finally becomes an asset. In many ways, billionaire Eric Packer (Pattinson), the 28-year-old head of Packer Capital, lives at a distance from those around him. He spends most of his time in his stretch limo, comfortably removed from anarchist protestors outside. Eric’s had the car adjusted to quiet the noise outside, and he barely flinches at the bumpiness caused by people pushing his moving status symbol. As the 99 percent rage and re-purpose a poem in which rats become currency, Eric rides in the first-class section of capitalism’s upper echelon, less interested in the people who work for him than the desire to put a heliport on his roof.
Cronenberg’s adaptation of Don DeLillo’s novel suffers from persistent chattiness. “Cosmopolis” constantly presents characters (played by pros including
Yet “Cosmopolis,” which at times recalls “American Psycho” and “Shame,” never bores. It’s profoundly attuned to the desperate, ironic
The guy’s arrogance frequently comes off as an act; he uses money as self-defense and covets sex like a commodity to be negotiated over, urging, “There isn’t time not to have it” as if his chances may disappear at any time. (For the same reason, he schedules a daily doctor’s appointment, including a prostate exam in the limo.) Simultaneously Eric acts as if treating problems like they don’t matter means they don’t. He’s a child earning the salary of thousands of adults, and Pattinson finds just the right mix of power and weakness.
Certainly, when Eric’s friend Shiner (Jay Baruchel) asks, “Do you ever get the feeling sometimes that you don’t know what’s going on?,” it’s hard not to think of Pattinson’s recent personal troubles. Hopefully the actor can bounce back from Kristen Stewart’s infidelity; with the exciting, dangerous “Cosmopolis” he at last proves he deserves roles, not just headlines.
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