In director David Cronenberg‘s philosophical new dark drama, Cosmopolis, Pattinson plays Eric Packer, a 28-year-old billionaire finance honcho who drifts across New York City in a technologically advanced limo on his way to get a haircut.
The role is Pattinson’s latest step away from his Edward Cullen persona. His past non-Twilight projects, however –such as Remember Me, Bel Ami and Water for Elephants — have struggled.
Pattinson’s promotion of the film has been overshadowed — at least, in part — by the headline-grabbing scandal surrounding his relationship with longtime love Kristen Stewart, who admitted to an affair with her Snow White and the Huntsman director Rupert Sanders last month.
But Pattinson has effectively — if awkwardly at times — dodged prying questions about his personal life throughout his recent publicity blitz, which kicked off Monday on The Daily Show.
So the still question remains: can ‘Cosmopolis’ — adapted from Don DeLillo’s 2003 novel — draw ticket sales from Pattinson’s die-hard ‘Twilight’ fans?
So far, reviews of Cosmopolis — and Pattinson — are mixed. While Gawker finds the film “hypnotic,” the Associated Press‘ no-holds-barred review deems it “lifeless [and] stagey.” As for Pattinson, the Huffington Post claims the “dull actor” is “reduced to a piece of furniture,” while The Daily Beast applauds his “impressively self-assured performance.”
Read on to see how the critics weighed in on Pattinson’s latest film.
Film Journal: “The claustrophobia of it all actually works to Cronenberg’s advantage, highlighting the knife-like performances and emphasizing the surprisingly effective notes of deadpan comedy. Cosmpolis loses some of its energy later when the action departs more from the tightened actors’ studio of the limo. But Cronenberg still maintains his tone of ironic prophecy, showing a world being spun towards chaos by a furiously accelerating present.”
LA Weekly: “Cronenberg, the great auteur of the divided self, seems to run out of fuel after that, even as the story’s structure gives him further opportunity to explore his pet themes. To the extent that Cosmopolis functions as a super-literal conceptual exercise, it’s simultaneously irritating and fascinating. But much of the film fails to function as drama, and never more so than in the interminable final scene, a two-hander in which Packer finally confronts his would-be assassin in what could be rooms of his own mind.”
Huffington Post: “…Whenever he strays outside the Twilight compound, Pattinson is a dull actor who projects no interior life or even the semblance of thought…. In the company of actual actors, Pattinson is reduced to a piece of furniture, most of which displays more expressiveness than the immortal R-Patz. As one would expect from Cronenberg, there are sudden moments of shocking violence to go with the moments of unsexy sex. None of it will distract you from the fact that this limo, like the whole enterprise titled Cosmopolis, is going nowhere.”
Gawker: “Cosmopolis doesn’t want to incense you—it wants to chill your blood…. But with Cosmopolis, Pattinson portrays a different kind of vampire, an inhuman monster who lives off others’ hard work and has to barricade himself away from the masses… so Pattinson falls into a fine tradition of Hollywood celebrities screwing with their fans’ heads…. The characters in Cosmopolis aren’t user-friendly and aren’t meant to be. But once you get into the film’s peculiar rhythms, Cosmopolis becomes hypnotic — a surreal, hyper-aware updating of our modern anxieties about the dehumanization brought on by wealth, power and technology.”
Entertainment Weekly: “Pale and predatory, Pattinson delivers his frigid pensées with rhythmic confidence, but he’s not playing a character, he’s playing an abstraction: the evil genius of finance who flies too close to the sun. After a while Eric finally meets a force he can’t control — the man who may be trying to kill him, played by Paul Giamatti with the only semblance of spontaneity in the movie. But who cares what happens? Cronenberg has already killed off his protagonist. Or at least he has snuffed out any shred of interior life in him.”
Associated Press: “Lifeless, stagey and lacking a palpable subversive pulse despite the ready opportunities offered by the material, Cosmopolis is a stillborn adaptation of Don DeLillo’s novel that will initially attract some Robert Pattinson fans but will be widely met with audience indifference…. Pattinson doesn’t help matters by revealing nothing behind the eyes and delivering nearly all his lines with the same rhythm and intonations, plus repetitive head nods in the bargain. It’s a tough character that perhaps a young Jeremy Irons could have made riveting, but Pattinson is too bland and monotonous to hold the interest.”
Indiewire: “This in part explains why Cosmopolis is such a triumph: it’s both an exceptional adaptation and a remarkable work unto itself.”
Daily Beast: “The good news is that he’s actually good — or at least utterly believable — in Cosmopolis. As young billionaire Eric Packer, Pattinson delivers a tightly controlled and impressively self-assured performance. With the performance free of the overwrought mannerisms — the weird faces, the emotional outbursts — that give his critics most of their ammunition, the biggest complaint one could have about Pattinson’s work here is that it’s too restrained.”
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