NY Times Arts Beat: “After the Boos, Reviewing the Cannes Film Festival”Cannes Film Buzz
Manohla Dargis reflects on the festival and what films deserve a second look from critics. A substantial part of the article is on Cosmopolis:
Another title that deserves a second look from critics is David Cronenberg’s latest, “Cosmopolis”, yet another under-loved competition title and a movie that will probably, as is often the case, be received more warmly when it opens commercially. Based on the slim 2004 Don DeLillo novel, it stars that blank beauty, Robert Pattinson (Edward the vampire, from the “Twilight” franchise), as Eric Packer, an ultra-high-net-worth individual who has set himself one goal for the day: a haircut. To that banal end, he slips into his bulletproof, nearly soundproofed white stretch limo that’s both his office and something of a carapace, and from which he impassively watches the city slip by. Along the way, he also has sex, drinks, considers his rapidly depleting fortune and has a prostate exam.
Tightly controlled and line by line often funny, with sentences lifted intact from the book, “Cosmopolis” is set in 2000, the year that the dot-com bubble burst. Packer works in currencies and is facing his own crisis, initially with dead-eyed calm. The yuan is giving him grief (in the novel it was the yen), but he seems largely preoccupied with other matters, including his equally blank, frosty wife (Sarah Gadon) and a lover (Juliette Binoche), who he wants to help him buy, absurdly, the Rothko Chapel. His 48-room apartment, he says, is big enough to hold it. But, his lover protests, the chapel, an ecumenical place of worship, belongs to the world. “It’s mine if I buy it,” Parker says.
Mr. Cronenberg does wonders with both the camera, especially inside the tight confines of limo, where many of the scenes are set, and with his star, coaxing a performance from Mr. Pattinson that perfectly works for the movie’s sepulchral air. Initially, when Packer slides into his limo, he seems like another master of the universe with shades, a bespoke suit and the otherworldly air of the super-rich. Yet as the limo inches across the city, where the traffic has been slowed to a creep by a presidential motorcade, a celebrity funeral and anarchist outrage, you begin to realize this is a man being chauffeured to his own funeral. As a diagnosis of what ails us,”Cosmopolis” would make an excellent if slightly nauseating double-bill with Mary Harron’s Wall Street horror shocker, “American Psycho.