David Cronenberg's Cosmopolis was arguably the most anticipated of all In Competition movies at the Cannes 2012 Film Festival. Sadly, I found it to fall short of the hype.
Robert Pattinson is Eric Packer, a super-rich financial trader with a limousine that acts as a business meeting room, a physicians office and a boudoir all in one.
Never getting out of first gear, literally for the limo and metorphorically for the movie, Packer is driven across the city in search of a needless haircut. His day goes from bad to worse, with city trading looking likely to cost him billions and his recent marriage on the verge of collapse. To make matters worse he has an asymmetrical prostrate, a cream pie is thrown in his face and, according to his bodyguard, someone wants to kill him.
While on paper this all adds up to an intriguing prospect, the anti-capitalism agenda is the joker in the pack. The downward spiral of Packer is suggestive of the mindset of many a banker across the land. Eager to be in complete control, fully aware of what is happening and why it is happening with aAny suggestion that this may not be the case leading to panic and self-turmoil.
The movie is incredibly verbal and the script was often a real chore, with endless amounts of financial rhetoric that mere-mortals will find lacking in resonance.
The movie's limited soundtrack brought little to the table and visually, the movie is also weak. It would be difficult to ascertain whether or not this was artistically intentional, or merely down to the budgetary restraints that lead to most of the movie being shot on-set away from New York city. From within the limo, shots of outside New York are, at times, laughable – though not quite to the same degree as the backdrops which accompanied Dracula in 3D.
There are, on occasion, some amusing moments within the near two-hour running time, but they actually felt somewhat out of place in what is essentially a dark tale. Pattinson was unable to bring the kind of intesity to the role that was probably required. Christian Bale's American Pyscho or any number of Leonardo Di Caprio performances over the past decade was what we, and Cronenberg, desperately needed but didn't get.
And while the R-Patz factor could well save the movie from totally bombing at the box-office this is far from the modern great that many had been hoping for.
Released in France today, the movie reaches the UK on June 15th.
Brendon's note: I look forward to seeing the film myself next week. Seeing as, for example, I'm not a fan of Leonardo DiCaprio's performances over the last ten years, I imagine Peter and I might not see eye to eye on this one.