Robert Pattinson shines in cyber-capitalism horror Cosmopolis
Twilight star ‘sensational’ as self-destructive billionaire on limousine ride to destruction
What you need to know
Robert Pattinson stars in Cosmopolis, a film based on Don DeLillo’s novel of the same name, which is directed by David Cronenberg, creator of body horror classics such as The Fly and Crash.
The Twilight star plays Eric Packer, a 28-year old billionaire who uses his limousine as his office. As he is chauffeured across gridlocked Manhattan to his barber, international markets wobble, and Packer’s life begins to spiral out of control.
The film also features appearances by Juliette Binoche (Chocolat, The English Patient), Paul Giamatti (Sideways) and Jay Baruchel (Million Dollar Baby, She’s Out of My League).
What the critics like
This film is flat-out marvellous, says Xan Brooks in The Guardian.
Cosmopolis is a “21st-century American horror story”, haunted by "the glow of cyber-capitalism". David Cronenberg does an elegant job of transferring Don DeLillo's chilly, mysterious prose onto the screen, while “the performances have just the right wonky, off-kilter intensity”.
This is a steely, chillingly topical adaptation of Don DeLillo’s satirical novel, says Robbie Collin in The Daily Telegraph. “At its heart is a sensational central performance from Robert Pattinson.” His Packer is stony on the surface, “with volcanic chambers of nervous energy and self-loathing churning deep below”.
Cosmopolis proves that Pattinson has the chops for acting, says Damon Wise in Empire. He parlays his cult persona beautifully into the spoiled, demanding Packer, “a man so controlling and ruthless that only he has the power to ruin himself”. Lean and spiky Pattinson “nails a difficult part almost perfectly”.
What they don’t like
Cronenberg’s mannered, theatrical film feels studenty, says Siobhan Synnot in The Scotsman. It fervently believes “that didactic encounters are a powerful artistic statement, and that nihilistic clichés signal something bleakly profound”. As for Pattinson’s performance, it “could only be electrifying if the cinema borrowed Packer’s bodyguard’s stun-gun”.
This is a “vapid, claustrophobic drama” about “the blandness of ultimate power”, says Richard Corliss in Time. Pattinson doesn’t help.
His unmodulated performance “neither overcomes his lover-boy image nor infuses Packer with the saturnine charm of his signature role” from Twilight. Instead, he remains “a handsome mannequin dressed to kill but not destined to come alive”.