The Conversation: What Are People Saying About Robert Pattinson in 'Cosmopolis'?

The Conversation: What Are People Saying About Robert Pattinson in 'Cosmopolis'?

May 25, 2012

The 2012 Cannes Film Festival is winding down, and many writers have already left. But those critics who stuck around got to check out one more major premiere, David Cronenberg's Cosmopolis. And those critics are very divided on whether it's good or bad, a return to the director's earlier work, more like Videodrome or Naked Lunch or Crash or eXistenZ, or it's another disappointment like his last, A Dangerous Method [in their opinion]. A few reviews say only Cronenberg fans will like it, while others say it won't please even them. 

Based on Don DeLillo's novel, which like Naked Lunch was thought unfilmable, the movie tracks the odyssey of a young billionaire on his way across Manhattan to get a haircut. Some seem to get it more than others, some are more tolerant than others and some liken it to Godard, particularly Week End. One consensus, though, seems to be that Leos Carax's Holy Motors has upstaged Cosmopolis as the better Cannes selection involving limosines. 

Another majority opinion is that Robert Pattinson is perfect for the movie, good or bad, and many are calling it his best performance yet, an excellent display of talent that would elevate the actor from Twilight hearthrob if only the performance was in a movie that people would actually see. I haven't paid too much attention on his non-Cullen roles, but I did enjoy his portrayal of Salvador Dali in Little Ashes and based on the praise can't wait to see him take breakout as a Patrick Bateman type. 

Who are people saying about Robert Pattinson's performance in Cosmopolis? Here's The Conversation heard around the Internet:

Give David Cronenberg credit for one thing: His choice to cast Robert Pattinson was an inspired and brilliant decision. While Cosmopolis is a bit too one-note to allow any proclamations about Pattinson's range, his opaque, handsome, sometimes robot-like face compliments Cronenberg's themes and styles perfectly. In terms of what the director seems to be aiming for here, his cold performance is nearly flawless. - Brian Clark, Twitch

Cronenberg's script plays off Pattinson's unique blend of dreary fashion, using the actor more for his physicality than his acting chops; Pattinson's deadpan delivery is a sufficient vessel for the filmmaker's intentions of using Packer as a vessel for his politics. [...] Pattinson holds his own without exactly broadening his range. By simply taking the part, his presence has the dissonance of a James Franco performance act, at once thoroughly underwhelming and emboldened by the meta mystery of his attraction to the project. As a journalist at the movie's Cannes press conference pointed out, while not a literal vampire, Packer is certainly a blood-sucking capitalist. - Eric Kohn, Indiewire

Interestingly enough, if you're casting for a dead-eyed shark wreathed in unearned privilege, Pattinson turns out to be a pretty good choice. - James Rocchi, MSN

Robert Pattinson is the best thing about this, his quiet intensity a perfect match for Cronenberg's cerebral world - FilmLand Empire, @FilmLandEmpire

Robert Pattinson a good fit for Cronenberg's cold, weird Cosmopolis, which is VERY talky (even during sex scenes) - Anna Smith, @annasmithjourno

Well-served, too, by a leering, disintegrating Pattinson, giving a commanding, sympathetic portrait of a man being consumed by his own vanity and power. - Dave Calhoun, Time Out London

Robert Pattinson is fine in the main part: if his Eric Packer is a little cold, a touch robotic, then so is Cronenberg’s unapologetically stylised approach to the story; this was never going to be a role that called for big emotions. But it’s difficult to see Pattinson’s youth appeal skewing this arthouse product’s audience towards the teen market – it’s just too slow and too talky. - Lee Marshall, Screen

While commercial reach will be limited to the more adventurous end of the specialty market, Robert Pattinson's excellent performance reps an indispensable asset. - Justin Chang, Variety

Robert Pattinson is magnetic [...] This is his best performance to date by some considerable margin. Yes, even better than Remember Me. - David Jenkins, Little White Lies

May well be Robert Pattinson's best performance to date - Anna Louise Smith, @MoviesOnVM

Surprisingly adequate [...] It’s pretty funny to see Pattinson, being the young, pretty tabula rasa that he is, play Packer, a wheeler-dealer that used to be hot shit but is now unable to sleep because he fears that he’s no longer relevant. - Simon Abrams, The Playlist

Pattinson really impressed me - Cédric Succivalli, ‏@OnTheCroisette

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, recalling those great words of advice from West Side Story: You wanna live in this crazy world? Play it cool. - Damon Wise, Empire

As the star, Robert Pattinson's face is set in an immobile semi-sneer of super-cool unshockability - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

R-Patz is the real deal - Adam Woodward, @AWLies

The film’s true driving force is Pattinson’s utterly fearless, audacious and sizzling performance. Both Twilight stars have now had films here in Cannes and both Kristen Stewart and Pattinson have given some of the festival’s strongest roles. Packer is a multi-layered, cynical and chillingly captivating character; he’s a gritty brush-stroke of our modern day society, a itching rash that demands attending to – the world in which Packer resides in is one of disgusting wealth and luxury yet crippling doubt, paranoia and self-loathing. Pattinson’s darkly comic and distressingly real performance here embodies everything Cosmopolis desires to express; he whispers and scuttles but his manners and aura leave a deafening echo hanging in the tainted, dystopian atmosphere. - Chris Haydon, Filmoria

The film is anchored by a solid, ennui-filled performance by Robert Pattinson, shedding his Twilight skin for something more substantive and reminiscent of Christian Bale in American Pyscho. - Raffi Asdourian, The Film Stage

In his impeccable looks, unashamed commodity fetishism and seeming omnipotence undercut by sexual panic, Packer evokes both Mad Men’s Don Draper and American Psycho’s Patrick Bateman. The incessant talk he engages in, packed with pointed one-liners to chew on in many a post-screening discussion, he also resembles another late-capitalist misanthropist and doomsayer: David Thewlis’ Johnny from Naked. - Michal Oleszczyk, Hammer to Nail

Robert Pattinson in COSMOPOLIS looks like James Dean playing James Bond - Nick James, @filmnickjames

It’s the scenes within Packer’s limo (notably a febrile sex scene between Pattison and a luminously cameoing Juliette Binoche) that are tautest and most flammable. When the film ventures out onto the street, the energy – or, if not energy, the effectively slippery equivalent inherent in Pattinson’s compelling screen presence – dissipates. - Guy Lodge, In Contention

Cosmopolis - Intriguing, contemplative look at how money corrupts this world. Philosophical, overlong, meh. Pattinson still wooden. - Alex Billington, @firstshowing

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



Follow Christopher Campbell on Twitter (@thefilmcynic) to join The Conversation.

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