How could a David Cronenberg film based on a novel by Don DeLillo be anything but atypical? And while Cosmopolis is certainly that, it is also absorbing and intellectually stimulating (not dirty words for a movie).
Here, we’re in a limousine; in fact, we’re here for most of the film, riding along with billionaire asset manager Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson) as he simply tries to get across town for a haircut. As ostensibly banal as this endeavor may appear though, it becomes anything but. External forces continually overwhelm and bombard Packer: professional predicaments, ongoing, citywide riots, threats on his life, and even a prostate exam.
As Packer is driven along, mystery abounds, as do statements on society, consumerism, capitalism, sex, and violence. Various people come in and out of his life (and often in and out of his limo), many played by great supporting performers such as Paul Giamatti, Juliette Binoche and Samantha Morton. As Cosmopolis builds in tension, Packer’s life grows more and more chaotic, eventually reaching a startling breaking point.
Cronenberg is nothing if not consistently innovative, in terms of form and content. With Cosmopolis, we get him at his best in both.