COSMOPOLIS – Review by Susan Granger

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According to press notes, David Cronenberg’s pretentious contemporary thriller examines our obsession with power, money, control, information, technology, violence, sex, mortality, revolution, destruction and, ultimately, redemption.

When hotshot investment tycoon Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson) wants a haircut and gets into his enormous white stretch limo to cross midtown Manhattan, his driver encounters infuriating traffic gridlock en route to his father’s old barbershop. The President is in town with his motorcade, anti-capitalist demonstrations are erupting and there’s a funeral for a rapper named Little Fox. Despite warnings from his security specialist, 28 year-old billionaire Packer insists on proceeding, holding mobile meetings about his company’s massive asset wager against the Chinese Yuan. While his limo inches forward, suave, soulless, self-destructive Packer indulges in sexual encounters on the plush leather upholstery and endures a rectal exam which reveals his prostate is asymmetrical.

Working from the intense 2003 novel by Don DeLillo, who prophesied a financial crisis, prolific Canadian director David Cronenberg (“A Dangerous Method,” “A History of Violence,” “eXistenZ,” “Eastern Promises,” “Dead Ringers,” “The Fly”) has created a bizarrely stylized, incomprehensible global capital absurdist comedy that unfolds in a single day. Since the entire artifice is permeated by an atmosphere of monotonous claustrophobia, the limousine – with its tinted windows and high-tech interior that includes a toilet – is of vast importance.

In an interview with the New York Times, Cronenberg revealed that Packer’s limo was a “Lego-like modular structure,” capable of being adjusted for lighting, sound and camera. Following novelist DeLillo’s specific description, it’s Proust-like in that it’s lined with cork, like Proust’s room, to shut out the din of the surrounding environs. Not even the hum of the engine is audible.

Having garnered a huge fan following for his vampire portrayal in the “Twilight” series, Robert Pattinson maintains a detached, expressionless façade as the impassive, inscrutable billionaire, receiving support from Samantha Morton, Paul Giamatti, Juliette Binoche, Sarah Gadon, Kevin Durand and Mattieu Amalric.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Cosmopolis” is a cynical, futile 3, a total waste of time and money.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.