Even though David Cronenberg hasn't made a horror movie in some time, horror.com still follows his career because he is such an icon in the genre. The Canadian director made his feature debut with the low-budget sick-flick Shivers in 1975. Winking and nodding to its sci-fi forefathers ala Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), Shivers features phallus-like parasites that turn well-to-do professionals into devolved sex-maniacs. As an actor, Cronenberg played a psychotic, sly, and slick serial killer for director Clive Barker in Night Breed. Other iconic offerings include The Fly, Stephen King adaptation The Dead Zone, Videodrome, and the aggressively cyberpunk sci-fi freak out eXistenZ.
Cosmopolis is Cronenberg's latest, and it's the dream team-up with nihilist novelist Don DeLillo providing the source material to give sparkly Twilight star Robert Pattinson a chance to shine in altogether a different light. While Rpatz acquits himself nicely, no one else — especially not the captive audience — gets off so easily in this hermetically sealed, talky, wheel-spinning endurance test which takes place mostly in the confines of a stretch limo.
Here's the story: Eric Packer is a 28 year old financial whiz kid who, as he starts to see his empire crumble before his very expensive eyes and with only the tinted windows of his limousine between his pristine self and the great unwashed, decides to take matters into his own manicured hands when he realizes all of the street-level violence is leading to one inevitable truth: somebody wants him dead. As he pieces the clues together, an assembly line of expository characters come and go, visiting Packer in his limo, imparting their info (and sometimes parting their thighs), then exiting to make way for the next Chatty Cathy or Talky Thomas.
It's all very uber-intellectual cerebral humdrummery, with only occasional forays out into the chaotic world of angry protestors and would-be assassins, as brilliant but brittle dialogue is delivered with all the verve of a laundry list. Though the cool, insolent stoicism does work for Pattinson as the narcissistic royal-"we" speaking wunderkind, even he can't carry this weighty, wordy dissertation on the burdens of money, fame and power.
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Reviewed by Staci Layne Wilson