What on earth is going on in Cosmopolis? It’s official. Robert Pattinson has left the Twilight building. Director David Cronenberg has given the international celebrity a role that will shake up his fan base and leave him with a group that appreciates him solely for artistic efforts, instead of for simply playing that Edward guy. That kind of devotion to Pattinson and Cronenberg is needed from their fans to make it through Cosmopolis.
Cronenberg is the master behind such instant classics as The Fly, Scanners and A History of Violence. Those who became fans of the helmer with the latter, the Viggo Mortensen-starring film, will be a little off-put by his latest. But, this reviewer has to admit: This film is classic Cronenberg.
The movie spends most of its time with Pattinson's billionaire in the back of his limo being driven around New York City. People who have meetings with him always enter the limo and are dropped off when they are finished. The audience gets a glimpse of what Pattinson does... he's some sort of financier whose counsel is sought by many. As those who possess the wealth shrink in the world of Cosmopolis, the direction of the world's future is more and more determined by characters such as Pattinson's. It's unfortunately hard to describe the film beyond the above premise -- it must be seen to be understood.
In full disclosure, within five minutes of the film starting at Movie Fanatic’s review screening, the air conditioning went out. The movie will be out in more and more cities as the weeks go by, but we needed a little time to discern whether the film was so completely off the charts or whether it was the recent Los Angeles heat wave that left us delirious.
The torturous heat had nothing to do with the Cosmopolis mind scramble. And that is exactly what the director intended. To have Pattinson so game to shake up his persona is reason alone to take in his Cronenberg collaboration. The actor manages to straddle a character firmly conflicted between two roads: The aspiring-to-be altruistic individual or the financial hoarder whose DNA is programmed to exist as someone who shares none of his wealth, despite global financial disparity.
Cosmopolis is timely. The 99-percent never rallied to the point they do in the film, but their presence is strewn throughout. The chaos that slowly simmers around Pattinson as he navigates a city gone mad in a limousine in search of the perfect haircut is palpable. In the iconic director’s hands, his newest creation shows a multi-billionaire on the front lines of a societal shift in attitude towards the once heralded concept of greed.
Cronenberg’s latest is by far not his best. A History of Violence and Eastern Promises may have brought Cronenberg a more mass audience, but Cosmopolis should alienate a majority of those film fans who joined the Cronenberg circus for his 2005 and 2007 hits.
But for the Cronenberg legion who have treasured the filmmaker’s wild style, his latest is another spoke in the wheel of his profound legacy.