‘The phenomenon of reputation is a delicate thing. A person rises on a word and falls on a syllable.’
A notion soon to be applied to Hollywood heartthrob and Twihard treasure Robert Pattinson’s latest leap of faith?
Immersed in the weird and wonderful world of director David Cronenberg (A History of Violence), they attempt to tackle head on a challenging adaptation of the Don Delillo novel ‘Cosmopolis’. Positioning itself as a stinging and satirical attack on capitalism within the confines of a crumbling corporate environment, now heavily reliant on technology, the year 2003 wouldn’t have been an ideal point in time to draw comparisons with such a decadent world. But the year 2012? Delillo could easily be branded as a reliable man of prophecy. Fatally marked with the ‘unfilmable’ tag, can Cronenberg bring it to life?
Pattinson plays 28 year old NYC based Eric Packer. Installed as the poster child of corporate finance, he finds the burden of being a billionaire as stifling as the swanky white stretch limousine he parades around in. One day however, the world he’s grown accustomed to soon disintegrates before his very eyes. Initially lusting for a bog-standard haircut across town (Cue horror on women’s faces everywhere!), his personal fortune takes a dramatic nosedive as his betting against the Chinese Yuan proves a careless error in judgement.
Warned off such a trip by his sharp tongued driver Torval (Kevin Durand), Eric seems oblivious to the ensuing mayhem that sweeps across the Big Apple. Traffic bringing the city to a mere standstill no thanks to the US president on a residential visit, a funeral set to commence and Times Square becoming the unexpected playground for a chaotic protest. In addition, he only has the insignificant detail of a former employee naming him a ‘target’.
Along the way, he becomes inundated with all walks of life in his trustee vehicle whether its his fellow business associates (Jay Baruchel and Samantha Morton) or attractive acquaintances in the form of Juliette Binoche and his peculiar on-screen wife Sarah Gadon. With each passing and frankly bizarre conversation, Packer’s paranoia grows at a precarious rate as he comes to terms with the idea of led an emotionally vacant existence.
‘Cosmopolis’ proves to be an outstanding and unflinching depiction of the current climate. The character of Eric Packer almost serves as a modern day martyr. His overwhelming sense of isolation from the real world or the growing disillusionment that comes with being wealthy, he seems relentless in his pursuit to reject any association with such a fatally mundane lifestyle.
In a real game changing role, Pattinson delivers his most accomplished and assured performance to date. Anchoring the film with meticulous poise and charisma, his thoroughly engaging protagonist here may finally put the doubters to rest in regards his acting abilities.
Cronenberg certainly hasn’t opted for the ‘hack and slash’ approach here either in his interpretation of Delillo’s work. The tongue twisting lengthy segments of dialogue literally torn from the pages are daringly faithful. The uninitiated perhaps will be left dumbfounded by the bamboozling of such intelligent jargon, others will find it refreshing and mesmerising. Whilst his directorial style remains intimate and precise, he certainly doesn’t shy away from the visual metaphors either. A particular highlight involving Pattinson facing up to Paul Giamatti’s antagonist Benno Levin, framed exquisitely within a wide angle shot emphasising the ever growing class divide between the rich and a disgruntled working class.
Overwhelming in its deconstruction of so many subject matters, it’s certainly too unusual and talky for the mainstream. For the more open-minded among us however, ‘Cosmopolis’ is an engrossing piece of cinema saturated in social resonance and intellect that deserves its intricacies to be deciphered.