2012 Running time: 108 Certificate: 15 Not yet rated

Synopsis

Robert Pattinson moves further away from the Twilight zone as a 28-year-old New York billionaire asset manager. Traversing the city in his armoured stretch limo, he variously consorts with his older lover (Juliette Binoche), personal doctor, and even an in-car philosopher. More disturbingly, he also encounters a clutch of anti-capitalist protesters as his corporate world collapses outside his hermetically sealed bubble. Director David Cronenberg adapts Don DeLillo's classic American novel.

Director

  • David Cronenberg

Cast

  • Robert Pattinson

  • Jay Baruchel

  • Kevin Durand

  • Paul Giamatti

  • Juliette Binoche

  • Samantha Morton

Review

Poor old R-Patz. He's clearly trying hard to break free of that self-conscious teenager image. And you can understand why, in choosing a film about the death of capitalism by David Cronenberg, whose work is so often thrilling, subtle and, indeed, grown-up, he might have expected to do so.

Yet, as Eric Packer, the billionaire currency trader travelling uptown in his bulletproof limo, Pattinson still comes across as every bit the self-involved adolescent.

It's not his fault, really. The script is astonishingly dull, too focused on the need to be profound as Packer rules his empire from an impenetrable vehicle crawling through Manhattan, having encounter after nihilistic encounter.

Even the livelier Colin Farrell, who was originally cast as the lead, would have struggled to make this wordy protagonist interesting.

The car is fitted with super hi-tech gadgets that allow Packer to monitor the Yuan from his throne, as he meets his feisty lover-cum art world informant (Juliette Binoche), his doctor (who comes every day), his personal philosopher (yes, really) and his bodyguard, who tells him a threat has been made on his life.

On a whim, Packer has decided he must cross town, despite his bodyguard repeatedly warning him that there are protests taking place throughout the capital.

As Packer sees the Chinese Yuan fall - and his fortune with it - crowds demonstrate against wealth disparity outside, spray-painting his windows and carrying the new horrific symbol of revolt - the rat - above their heads. Outside all is chaos; inside calm, as Packer pours martinis, discusses currency and has his prostate examined.

But there is claustrophobia too, because Packer wants to escape. He asks to be Tasered. He commits random acts of violence. His own success is suffocating him.

There's something of American Psycho about it all, that desperate yearning for something to happen. But sadly for Cronenberg, that desperation is shared by the audience, who feel that same sense of claustrophobia and, unfortunately, boredom.

Packer - and his associates are dull. Drab, monotone and nauseatingly pompous, they speak in a recognizable but foreign "sometime in the not too distant future" lingo that might have worked in Don DeLillo's novel, but which here feels forced.

There is a chilling atmosphere, inside Packer's sanitised car, but somehow the chill never grows - the existential angst that Cronenberg is trying to portray feels cold and uneventful on screen.

The film certainly makes its point - that a risk-averse life of unending luxury is no life at all - but it makes it so listlessly that you really won't care.