Faithful but flummoxing adaptation of Don DeLillo's novel hits Cannes
CANNES - Eric Packer, the disaffected, boy-billionaire anti-hero of “Cosmopolis,” has an asymmetrical prostate. We’re told this no fewer than three times in David Cronenberg’s highly garrulous but bullet-cold adaptation of Don DeLillo’s compact 2003 novel, and it can’t just be to tease us with the reassuring prospect that there’s something imperfect about Robert Pattinson’s svelte, slicked, immaculately suited physique – nor just to amuse us with the notion that this sleek automaton of a protagonist has a prostate at all.
Rather, the image – though lifted straight from DeLillo’s novel, like pretty much everything in Cronenberg’s exceedingly faithful adaptation thereof – seems principally an assertion of the hand of David Cronenberg. That is, the funny, fevered, corporeally obsessed Cronenberg of old, the Cronenberg who became his own best adjective and has been only intermittently present, if not always to detrimental effect, in his last three or four films. After his intellectually heady but almost perversely restrained psychology drama, “A Dangerous Method,” debuted only months ago to polite critical applause that nonetheless questioned his edge, the hinky, kinky, defiantly unlovable “Cosmopolis” lands in our laps with bristly self-assurance. “You asked for this,” it seems to be saying, one of the few things unspoken amid its torrent of thematically pointed verbiage. “Let’s see if you really want it.”