“Cosmopolis” seems to be a perfect fit for Cronenberg, and my experience with the film was complicated a bit by the screening room where I saw it. There was no air conditioning, and it was mid-afternoon during the recent crazy heat here in LA. The screening room was completely full, every seat taken, and by the middle of the film, I was so hot I felt like I was slow-motion-fainting. Awful. And with a film that’s designed to make you uncomfortable anyway, my first reaction was to recoil.
I walked away blaming the movie, but thinking it over for the last week or so, I can’t get it out of my head. It’s exquisitely made, carefully controlled, a simmering look into the dead empty eyes of Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson) as Rome burns around him. Based on a novel by Don DeLillo, it’s all character, all mood, a slow surreal ride through Manhattan during a meltdown that seems to have been caused, in part, by his own hubris, and Pattinson is fascinating in the role. He seems to constantly be shifting through a complicated but subterranean inner implosion, pieces of himself shutting down at random, little by little. His stated goal for the day is simple enough. He wants a haircut. Never mind that the entire city seems to be on high alert thanks to the visit of a President and construction and protests and traffic and madmen and giant rats and angry wives and dirty lovers, all complications thrown in the path of Packer as he attempts to make his way across this tiny island, locked inside his sterile bubble.
I do not think I’m out of line when I observe that Robert Pattinson is from outer space. Part of what makes him so compelling in the film is that whatever weirdness Cronenberg throws at him, he rolls with it, staring out of that blank passive face with furious eyes. People race in and out of his personal orbit. He gets a physical from a doctor inside the cab at one point, carrying on a conversation while this guy’s got half his arm inside him, and the way Pattinson plays that scene is impressive. On the whole, Pattinson delivers in this difficult role, and I can’t picture anyone else tuning in more completely to what Cronenberg has done here.
It helps that Pattinson interacts with truly great performances from the supporting cast. Juliette Binoche shows up to have some sex, drink some booze, and lay some ugly truth on Pattinson’s character. Sarah Gadon is Packer’s wife, newly married and already looking for a way out, away from this shark-eyed and alien “other” who she has barely gotten to know as a husband. Jay Baruchel and Kevin Durand both do sharp and specific work in small roles here, and there’s a wonderful but oh-so-short appearance by Samantha Morton as well. Paul Giamatti almost steals the film in the last ten minutes, and it’s a testament to how good Pattinson is in the film that he stands there and refuses to let Giamatti run away with it. He gives as good as he gets. Giamatti is great, giving voice to all the frustration and powerlessness of everyone caught up in these forces at work in the modern world, these soft little boys dressed up in expensive suits, untouchable in their coffins on wheels. Giamatti is determined to break through the expressionless exterior of Packer to find the soft and vulnerable heart, and once he does, he plans to rip it out.Read the rest of the review here
source: HitFix via ToR