Robert Pattinson’s ‘Cosmopolis’: The Cannes Reviews Are In!

Critics are split on whether the 'Twilight' actor was the right casting choice.
By Fallon Prinzivalli

Robert Pattinson at Cannes Film Fest
Photo: AFP

After supporting his girlfriend Kristen Stewart as she debuted "On the Road," Robert Pattinson hit the Cannes Film Festival on Friday (May 25) to premiere his film "Cosmopolis." Directed by David Cronenberg, the film follows Eric Packer (Pattinson) in the not-too-distant future as he's chauffeured through Manhattan on his way to get a haircut. His entire world is falling apart — his marriage is failing, his financial status is slipping and even his very life is being threatened.

As reviews of the film pour in, it's apparent that critics agree the film has its odd moments, but they're split on whether Pattinson is the perfect choice for the lead role. Here's what the critics had to say about "Cosmopolis."

The Story
" 'Cosmopolis,' an adaptation of Don DeLillo's typically provocative novel of the same name, is the first feature film since 1999's 'eXistenZ' that filmmaker David Cronenberg has directed and scripted. This in part explains why 'Cosmopolis' is such a triumph: it's both an exceptional adaptation and a remarkable work unto itself.

Cronenberg makes slight but salient changes to DeLillo's source narrative. These changes, which are best described by one character as 'slight variation[s],' prove that Cronenberg's given serious consideration to what should and shouldn't be represented in his adaptation of the author's ruminative, conversation-driven narrative. For example, in Cronenberg's film, Eric Packer (a surprisingly adequate Robert Pattinson), an ambivalent and self-destructive power broker, does not get to have sex with his wife like he's wanted to do throughout DeLillo's book. Other changes, like the fact that Packer is investing and studying the steady rise in the Chinese yuan in the film and not the Japanese yen, as in the book, are equally striking. These differences noticeably enrich DeLillo's original story, making Cronenberg's 'Cosmopolis' that much more rewarding in its own dizzying way." — Simon Abrams, Indiewire

Robert Pattinson
"On the page and on film, Eric is a controlled and controlling figure, a man impervious to society's norms who one must feel has a mind operating well beyond the capacities of mere mortals. He's utterly humorless and without detectable compassion or accessible humanity, which makes him less than companionable as a character. 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." — Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter

"After 'Water for Elephants' it remains to be seen whether Pattinson's teen following really is willing to follow him anywhere. But 'Cosmopolis' does prove that he has the chops, and he parlays his cult persona beautifully into the spoiled, demanding Packer, a man so controlling and ruthless that only he has the power to ruin himself. Lean and spiky — with his clean white shirt he resembles a groomed Sid Vicious — Pattinson nails a difficult part almost perfectly." — Damon Wise, Empire Online

The Details
"There are other cast members who do an excellent idea of wrapping their heads around DeLillo's big ideas and Cronenberg's indirect dialogue — Juliette Binoche and Samantha Morton, Mathieu Almaric and Paul Giamatti — and the music, by Metric, supplies the right kind of spiky, sensuous unease for a man driven across town and driven to self-destruction. The film's cynicism is both majestic and well-earned; at one point, Eric notes '... nobody hates the rich ... everybody thinks they're ten seconds away from being rich.' A chilly, crisp and crystal-shard sharp satire of our money-crazed world, 'Cosmopolis' takes us on a limo ride through the collapse of modern society: We're not behind the wheel for this ride, but rest assured, in the end, we're going to have to get out and pay for it." — James Rocchi,

The Final Word
"[R]ather than a thriller, 'Cosmopolis' plays more like a wispy film of ideas, with conversations in the limo about society, wealth and humanity dominating most of the screen time. Almost all of these feel detached and meticulously unfocused. Characters toss around ideas or questions, which their conversation partner then promptly ignores or responds to with a non-sequitur. It's often reminiscent of work by playwright/screenwriter Harold Pinter, but never quite as fun, nor nearly as humorous as it should be. ... Cronenberg has still made an odd, uncompromising and occasionally brilliant film of his own, one which is well worth seeing if only for the deft way Cronenberg finds an emotional arc in such an inhuman world. Or else to see how perfectly Pattinson's performance suits the director." — Brian Clark, Twitch

Check out everything we've got on "Cosmopolis."

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