Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Toronto Film Festival Lineup: What Did They Get? Toronto Film Festival Lineup: What Did They Get? Richard Linklater's Untitled New Film Pushed to 2016, Might Direct Jennifer Lawrence Movie Richard Linklater's Untitled New Film Pushed to 2016, Might Direct Jennifer Lawrence Movie Jill Soloway Says "There Is an All Out-Attack" on Female Filmmakers Jill Soloway Says "There Is an All Out-Attack" on Female Filmmakers 'Steve Jobs' Joins Fall Festival Contenders as NYFF Centerpiece Gala: What's Coming Up and What's Not (UPDATED) 'Steve Jobs' Joins Fall Festival Contenders as NYFF Centerpiece Gala: What's Coming Up and What's Not (UPDATED) Arthouse Audit: Is 'Phoenix' This Year's 'Ida'? 'Mr. Holmes' Stays Strong Arthouse Audit: Is 'Phoenix' This Year's 'Ida'? 'Mr. Holmes' Stays Strong Friday Box Office: Sandler's 'Pixels' Gets Mixed Response, 'Paper Towns,' 'Southpaw' Not Far Behind Friday Box Office: Sandler's 'Pixels' Gets Mixed Response, 'Paper Towns,' 'Southpaw' Not Far Behind Scott Foundas Explains Why He's Leaving Film Criticism--Again--for Amazon Studios Scott Foundas Explains Why He's Leaving Film Criticism--Again--for Amazon Studios Congrats to Monica Bellucci: She's Making History Congrats to Monica Bellucci: She's Making History Broad Green Dates 'Knight of Cups' and Two More Releases Broad Green Dates 'Knight of Cups' and Two More Releases Watch: The Secret Ingredient to David Lynch's Disorienting Cinema Watch: The Secret Ingredient to David Lynch's Disorienting Cinema First Look: 'No' Director Pablo Larraín Channels 'Neruda' with Gael García Bernal First Look: 'No' Director Pablo Larraín Channels 'Neruda' with Gael García Bernal Is 'The Revenant' the Most Hellish Shoot of All Time? Is 'The Revenant' the Most Hellish Shoot of All Time? Broad Green Enters Long-Term Home Video Deal with Universal for Burgeoning Slate Broad Green Enters Long-Term Home Video Deal with Universal for Burgeoning Slate Gabriel García Márquez Documentary Coming Soon (Trailer) Gabriel García Márquez Documentary Coming Soon (Trailer) Watch 'SPECTRE' Trailer: James Bond Meets the Author of His Pain Watch 'SPECTRE' Trailer: James Bond Meets the Author of His Pain 'BoJack Horseman,' 'Rick and Morty,' and Our Love/Hate Relationship with TV 'BoJack Horseman,' 'Rick and Morty,' and Our Love/Hate Relationship with TV Why I Can't Wait to See 'Crimson Peak,' Guillermo del Toro's Sumptuous Period Thriller (VIDEO) Why I Can't Wait to See 'Crimson Peak,' Guillermo del Toro's Sumptuous Period Thriller (VIDEO) First Look at Julianne Moore and Ellen Page as a Gay Couple in 'Freeheld' First Look at Julianne Moore and Ellen Page as a Gay Couple in 'Freeheld' Why Kevin Costner Paid for 'Black or White' (New Trailer, Sneak Preview Q & A) Why Kevin Costner Paid for 'Black or White' (New Trailer, Sneak Preview Q & A) Gabriel García Márquez and Akira Kurosawa Talk Film, Writing and 'Rhapsody in August' in 1991 Gabriel García Márquez and Akira Kurosawa Talk Film, Writing and 'Rhapsody in August' in 1991

Cannes Review: Cronenberg's Dystopian "Cosmopolis" Stars Pattinson as Dissolute Master of the Universe

Photo of Ryan Lattanzio By Ryan Lattanzio | TOH! May 28, 2012 at 2:05PM

"Life is too contemporary," Didi Fancher (Juliette Binoche) tells Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson) after they've just had sex in the back of his limousine. That seems to be the global concern in "Cosmopolis," a headlong plunge into a dystopian urban milieu of greed, corruption, technology, nihilism, you name it.
2

While Cronenberg has elicited nuanced, naturalistic performances from the likes of Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello and Naomi Watts ("A History of Violence," "Eastern Promises"), he often teases out intentionally stilted performances from his leads ("Crash," 1996). As Eric, the brooding Pattinson eroticizes every move, glance and revolver-spin. Travis Bickle is gliding beneath his dead stare. Although the profligate Eric professes ideas and obsessions, he is ultimately a wannabe nihilist. He asks one of his many girlfriends (Patricia McKenzie) to tase him, because he's ready for something new, because he wants to feel something besides empty sex and asymptotic human connection. A person who has everything, in effect, has nothing. That doesn't make Eric a deep person but, in the film's final stretches as he confronts his fate, something is roiling beneath that dark, handsome shell.

However much "Cosmopolis" taps into the economic zeitgeist, the film is removed from reality; Cronenberg has dreamed up another world where logic and ideology are nil. With his latest effort, the auteur surveys all of his fetishes and packs them into one slick, streamlined movie. But like good sci-fi, every element rings prescient, drawing upon our fears and anxieties as a species and a civilization. Zizek said that the cinema doesn't show us what to desire, but tells us how we desire. Cronenberg knows that  a specter haunts "Cosmopolis": our own imagination.

Canada's Entertainment One acquired the film before Cannes; stateside release plans are not set.

This article is related to: David Cronenberg, Cannes Film Festival, Cosmopolis, Festivals, Festivals, Reviews, Reviews, Rob Pattinson


E-Mail Updates








Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.