starring Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche, Sarah Gadon, Paul Giamatti
screenplay by David Cronenberg, based on the novel by Don DeLillo
directed by David Cronenberg
by Walter Chaw David Cronenberg's North by Northwest, his adaptation of Don DeLillo's Cosmopolis functions as a difficult, arctic précis of the Canadian filmmaker's career-long obsession with the insectile nature of, and indulgence in, hunger. Cronenberg's proclivity for parasites, after all, is essentially the admiration of creatures defined by their hunger. His latest is Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson), a voracious sexual predator who lives in the dark cocoon of his stretch limo as it inches its way across Midtown to a barbershop that would be more at home in the bucolic small town of A History of Violence than in the metal canyons of Manhattan. Its existence, like a little diner along the way, like a bookshop with paper- and leather-lined walls, is further evidence of infestation--pockets of disease on the glistening skin and sterile surfaces of industry. No wonder the filthy rabble protesting in Gotham's streets have as their unifying symbol the rats that are the true inheritors of man's work. Cronenberg recalls his own Crash in these ideas--and not just in his desire to adapt literary properties considered unadaptable. He recalls his Naked Lunch in the idea that language is a neurological contagion, and he recalls most of all both his Videodrome (in his identification of screens with every intercourse) and his eXistenZ (in the erasure of any meaningful line between our interiors and exteriors). Cosmopolis is dense and multifarious--the absolute pinnacle of pretentious, too, in its desire to explain not only its creator, but all of the world at this moment in time in our age of missing information.