The works of Canadian oddball David Cronenberg are hit-or-miss for me, and “Cosmopolis” — a sterile, mannered adaptation of Don DeLillo’s 2003 novel about a young billionaire riding around Manhattan in his bulletproof limo — is a miss, a stylish experiment whose big ideas prove unsatisfying.
“Twilight” star Robert Pattinson plays the rich guy, Eric Packer, a start-up founder who’s made his fortune in foreign currency exchange. Willfully shut off from the world of common people, Packer spends as much time as possible in his high-tech, soundproof, fully stocked limousine, conducting business meetings, sexual affairs, and even a doctor’s exam from the comfortable backseat. Outside, protesters have adopted an “eat the rich” policy, giving Packer even more reason to stay out of sight.
Cronenberg emphasizes the artificiality of Packer’s lifestyle with fake-looking views through the car windows (it’s always obvious that we’re on a sound stage, not a real city street) and stilted, non sequitur-heavy dialogue. The antiseptic tone is thematically appropriate, and it’s not wrong for a movie about a cold person to leave the viewer cold. But “Cosmopolis” quickly grows repetitive and tiresome, meandering toward messages that land softly, producing little impact. I know some people have gotten more out of this than I did, and more power to ’em. It didn’t work for me.
C (1 hr., 49 min.; )