Robert Pattinson attempts to escape the sparkling hell he's been trapped in for the last several years with the very serious and very talky Cosmopolis, the latest from director David Cronenberg. Just in case "very serious" and "very talky" are not enough to sell you, Cosmopolis is also very boring.
Pattinson stars as Eric Packer, a young billionaire who is traveling across Manhattan in a stretch limo to get a haircut. As the day progresses, Eric's fortune evaporates, his marriage disintegrates and his life spirals out of control. Unlike in Twilight, where Pattinson was forced to emote melodrama with long, silent stares and basic lines like "you smell so good," Eric is largely emotionless, a shell of a man who is physically and psychologically isolated from the rest of the world.
Unfortunately, though Pattinson is armed with a real script by an established director, Cosmopolis isn't the film that will suddenly convince audiences that he can actually act. The first problem is that very few people have or ever will see this movie. The second problem is that, despite a dialogue-heavy script, the movie is not an actor's movie. Pattinson's performance is far from commanding but well suited for the movie. Any shortcomings are not his fault.
The screenplay, written by Cronenberg from a book by Don DeLillo, likely has more words than all five Twilight movies combined, but the intentionally stilted dialogue and vague ramblings make the film challenging to watch, let alone enjoy. Much of the movie takes place inside Eric's limousine, and most of those scenes are mind numbingly dull. Cosmopolis does get better in the third act when Eric finally sheds the car, but it's too little, too late. And when Paul Giamatti is finally introduced in what would normally be a pivotal, scene-stealing role, the screenplay restrains him as well.
Aside from the screenplay, the movie just doesn't look very good. The limousine scenes look cheap at best, and as mentioned earlier much of the movie takes place in a limousine. The film has a reported budget of $20 million, but it's hard to see where that money went.
Some people who are much smarter than me will watch Cosmopolis and find plenty to enjoy. They will see the dialogue as sharp. They will see the story as deep. They will see gold in something that isn't even shiny on the surface.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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