In David Cronenberg's "Cosmopolis," Robert Pattinson plays a billionaire financial visionary having a really bad day. While crossing gridlocked Manhattan in his super deluxe stretch Lincoln, he sees his currency play against the Chinese yuan backfire, learns that his pretty new bride intends to leave him, and runs afoul of street protesters who spray-paint his vehicle with graffiti. He dismisses his security chief's warning that there is "a credible threat" on his life. And he learns that he really can't buy inner peace when his art dealer informs him that Houston's Mark Rothko Chapel is not for sale at any price. Making a movie almost entirely set inside a limo is an act of daring, even when you have a supporting cast that includes Juliette Binoche as his sexy art expert, Paul Giamatti as a disgruntled ex-employee, Samantha Morton as his "Chief of Theory" and Mathieu Amalric as a pie-wielding prankster who "quiched the Sultan of Brunei."
The film is all too faithful to its un-cinematic source. The dialogue, transcribed from DeLillo's pages, is flat, cerebral robot-speak. Ponderous arias on the themes of love, death, power, technology and inequality slow the film to a snail's pace like the limousine. Pattinson, modern cinema's premier vampire, is aptly cast as a bloodless tycoon. At times he even copies Dracula, lying full-length in his rolling, leather-lined sarcophagus. The film makes repeated references to abstract art -- the opening credits feature Pollock-like action painting dribbles -- but its anti-realist approach turns tiresome long before the journey is done.
In an interview with Colin Covert, director David Cronenberg talks about why the DeLillo novel attracted him.