Two days after Kristen Stewart flashed the flesh in On the Road, her Twilight co-star Robert Pattison arrived on the big screen in Cannes looking for shock and awe. But David Cronenberg's Cosmopolis is guaranteed to flummox anyone expecting to see a feature-length version of the movie's sizzling teaser trailer.
A hooker with a taser, Robert Pattinson blasting a bloody hole through his left hand, a man stabbed through the eye, a giant rat prowling through the streets, a rioting crowd... all these moments are here. But they surface periodically in an ocean of babble because, somehow, Cosmopolis is even more talky and less cinematic than Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method. Sex, violence and chaos have rarely felt less exciting.
Water for Elephants and Bel Ami proved Pattinson is chasing darker roles and this is a bold step up. There's a nihilistic sarcasm about his performance that's nicely judged and you can feel Cronenberg channelling his vampiric blankness. But most of Cronenberg's movie boils down to dense, difficult monologues about capitalism - lifted uneasily from Don DeLillo's novel - by a string of cameo stars. Juliette Binoche bounces around on Pattison, Samantha Morton talks time and money, Mathieu Amalric pops up as a pie-chucking protestor.
Stylised but not stylish, it's satire of a society driven to self-destruction fails to pull into focus often enough. There's plenty to chew on here but it's just not much of a ride.
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