Movie review: Cosmopolis

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From the August 30, 2012 edition

David Cronenberg, that auteur of oddity, had been on quite a roll since hitting his second-wave stride with “A History of Violence” in 2005.

His latest film “Cosmopolis” is vintage Cronenberg — weird, squirmy, oddly sterile — but it fails in the metamorphosis into any kind of coherent narrative.

Plot synopsis: In a dystopian near-future (is there any other kind?), a young bazillionaire (Robert Pattinson) heads across town in a stretch limo to get a haircut. This is literally the plot.

The headline-grabbing casting of Pattinson of “Twilight” fame gave the film buzz. It also gives Cronenberg a blank canvas. Pattinson’s flat and brooding acting style works for the character, but it doesn’t elevate R-Patz to anything beyond meat puppet.

Even though it’s tough to latch on to, “Cosmopolis” is still a Cronenberg film, so it’s often quite hypnotic — and punctuated with jarring bursts of violence. There’s a meditation on the superrich here that’s worthwhile.

The source novel may be the culprit, but I’ve expected more from Cronenberg of late. This one’s mostly for his fans.