If you can get past the psychological density of the source material (Don DeLillo's 2003 novel) and the tabloid noise around the star (RPatz leaves KStew!), this mesmerizing mind-bender ought to prove two things: (1) Robert Pattinson really can act; (2) Director David Cronenberg never runs from a challenge. Pattinson stars as Eric Packer, a master of the universe at 28 but still helpless to stop his financial world from collapsing as he rides around Manhattan in a white stretch limo. Destination: haircut. That's it: one day, one limo. But DeLillo crowded that day with incident. And Cronenberg, a master recalling his surreal work on eXistenZ and Naked Lunch, adapts the novel with a poet's eye and a keen ear for language. Eric has hermetically sealed himself inside a limo designed to block out every trace of the outside world. Inside, Eric can ignore the Occupy Wall Street-like protests from the 99 percent, consult with his geek chief (Jay Baruchel) and his money guru (Emily Hampshire), submit to a prostate exam, have sex with his mistress (Juliette Binoche), and get out for disturbing meetings with his wife (Sarah Gadon) and a disgruntled former employee (Paul Giamatti). Working with gifted cinematographer Peter Suschitzky, Cronenberg creates a crumbling world in microcosm. In this fever dream of a movie, Pattinson is incendiary, notably in a climactic gun scene with the great Giamatti. Cosmopolis, demanding as it is daring, is no easy ride. I mean that as high praise.
From The Archives Issue 1164: August 30, 2012