Even with Canadian auteur David Cronenberg running this sci-fi thriller, an admirable conceptualization and execution of Cosmopolis doesn't do justice to a prescient 2003 novel by Don DeLillo.
The film at times feels more of an experimental nature though Robert Pattinson, for better or worse, is taken out of his (Team Edward) brooding element of the Twilight franchise.
The goal of Pattinson's very wealthy Eric Packer (from computer industries and the stock market) is to get a haircut while being chauffeured (through the Big Apple in the near future) is to get a haircut though there's traffic congestion because of the funeral of a musician and appearance of a president. There's trouble beginning to really brew in the streets as Eric begins to get the feeling of life starting to slip away from him.
Inside the stretched limo is an interesting setup from Cronenberg, but the journey turns out to have more of an abstract, antiseptic quality that even may distance more discerning art house patrons.
Not long in being betrothed to Elise (Sarah Gadon of Dream House and Cronenberg's more compelling A Dangerous Method), Eric has begun an adulterous streak with security agent Kendra Hays (Patricia McKenzie) and art consultant Didi Fancher (Juliette Binoche). Emily Hampshire appears as an office manager in perhaps the film's most memorable scene when Eric has a physical examination. Samantha Morton's Vija Kinsky seems more grounded than nearly all the other characters as Eric's theory coach or lead advisor.
Cosmopolis seems to have something telling to say on the unwelcome demands put upon capitalism especially, say, through supporting characters, respectively, a pie-throwing protester and a disgruntled former employee, played by Mathieu Amalric and Paul Giamatti. Yet, the increasingly overall viewing experience is disconcerting, maybe in part in Cronenberg unable to smooth out the disconnected nature from the DeLillo source material.
Maybe with Pattinson's emotional opaqueness with those haunted eyes, Eric's character doesn't pack the kind of wallop it should in the in the kind of enveloping horrors done with more verve around the subject matter by the likes of Adrian Lyne and Oliver Stone. But, Cronenberg's contained, primarily sealed-off cauldron, exists like his "eXistenZ" to curiously touch the neural impulses of those few not into clamorous big-budgeted studio bombast.