Cannes 2012: ‘Cosmopolis’ preview

If A Dangerous Method (2011) had been made by Stephen Frears, no one would have battered an eyelid, but coming from Canadian body horror master David Cronenberg meant a fairly decent if dull costume drama suffered for simply not being Videodrome (1983). However, the announcement that Cronenberg’s next feature Cosmopolis (2012), an adaptation of the Don DeLillo novel of the same name starring Robert Pattinson, would be screening in competition at this year’s 65th Cannes Film Festival looks to have pushed the director back into the arthouse spotlight.

The official Cannes selection trailer seems to have taken some inspiration from the work of French enfant terrible Gaspar Noè, featuring a pounding soundtrack, fizzing titles and flashes of some severely screwed-up imagery. Of all of Pattinson’s post-Twilight roles, his latest turn as Cosmopolis’ millionaire protagonist Eric Packer could be the one to finally establish himself as an actor to take seriously, shedding the romantic gloss for something a lot darker.

DeLillo’s novel takes place almost entirely in the back of the aforementioned limo as Packer, a financial whiz-kid with a hefty dollop of Patrick Bateman’s hair gel, begins to mentally unravel. Stuck in a series of traffic jams and losing what looks like his fortune on a suicidal bet against the value of the Yen, Packer has a series of sexual and violent encounters which occasionally lurch towards delirium. DeLillo’s book received a lukewarm reception on its publication in 2003, but in 2012 its portrayal of an off-the-rails financial meltdown married to riots, sex and lurid violence feels readily prophetic.

With a Cannes premiere now confirmed and a UK release later this year/early 2013 likely thanks to the participation of Pattinson, film fans can expect to see and hear a lot more about Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis in the very near future.

The 65th Cannes Film Festival takes place from 16-27 May, 2012. For more of our Cannes 2012 coverage, simply follow this link.

John Bleasdale