Robert Pattinson’s legions of Twilight fans could surely dream of nothing better than being trapped in a stretch limo with their idol. David Cronenberg’s screen adaptation of Don DeLillo’s 2003 novel Cosmopolis simulates this experience for the viewer, but it’s highly unlikely that his bum-numbingly slow-moving art-house movie will fulfil any Twihard’s fantasies.
Pattinson plays 28-year-old billionaire currency trader Eric Packer, who is taking a trip by limo across New York to get a haircut at his childhood barber’s while his financial empire teeters on the brink thanks to the unstoppable rise of the Chinese yuan. With the city’s traffic reduced to gridlock by a presidential visit and a rap star’s funeral, his armour-plated, fully insulated vehicle creeps through the streets at walking pace.
En route he has a series of wordy and sometimes sexual encounters inside the car with various flunkies and advisors, including art dealer Juliette Binoche, technology whiz Jay Baruchel and theorist Samantha Morton. The limo gets jounced and spray-painted by anti-globalisation protestors; he has his daily prostate examination; and he learns of a threat on his life from a psychopathic stalker.
Yet nothing rouses him from his benumbed state of jaded detachment to the world and to his own life. As Cronenberg’s film inches towards its destination, some critics detect a profound and coruscating anti-capitalist satire, but I suspect most viewers will reckon they’ve been taken for a ride.
Released on Blu-ray & DVD by Entertainment One on Monday 12th November.
Don DeLillo’s 2003 novel Cosmopolis is published in a new film tie-in edition by Picador.
To activate the sound in the trailer: hold your cursor over the screen to reveal the control panel and click on the volume control in the bottom right-hand corner.