The first trailer for “Cosmopolis” is a decadent blast of white noise and black necropolitana – almost an end zone unto itself – scored to a portentous metronomic beat. Just 30 seconds long, the rapidly cut teaser, released last Friday, gives zero information about David Cronenberg’s hungrily anticipated adaptation of Don DeLillo’s 2003 dystopian novel. Instead it bludgeons viewers with a stroboscopic montage of Robert Pattinson, alternately ravenous and jaded, indulging in sex and/or gunplay with various women – “I’m looking for more … aim and fire ... hit the switch,” the naked RPattz requests of the bare-breasted Medusa who’s pointing a revolver at him in the first “scene.”
Juliette Binoche can be seen writhing in a little black dress and being penetrated from behind in the Pattinson’s character’s limo; Samantha Morton’s in there, too, turning her pale moon face to look out of a window. A dinosaur lumbers (rather than rampages) across what might be Times Square. Pattinson stabs a wraith-like man in the eye. The whole thing looks like it was shot not by the Canadian auteur, but by French cinema’s Argentinian enfant terrible Gaspar Noé in amped-up “Enter the Void” mode. It’s calculatedly cliché-d, as most trailers are, and, because it’s Cronenberg, tantalizing.
“A Dangerous Method” was (give or take the spankings and Keira Knightley’s admirable histrionics) a comparatively serene entry for Cronenberg and a period piece to boot, so it was more than likely he would follow it with a more visceral and contemporary piece.
Taking its cue from James Joyce’s “Ulysses,” DeLillo’s densely metaphorical novel follows the day-long odyssey across Manhattan of a 28-year-old billionaire asset manager, Eric Packer (played by Patterson), whose immediate goal is to get a (Samson-ian?) haircut but whose seeming destiny is to self-destruct and bring about universal economic collapse. There’s a presidential motorcade in town, an idolized rapper’s funeral adds to the gridlock, assassins lurk in the shadows, and a massive anti-globalization protest pre-echoes the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Although the book wasn’t well reviewed, it's surely ripe for one of Cronenberg’s more rigorously topical films – think body-politic-horror. The signs are that it will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May.
Watch the trailer for David Cronenberg's "Cosmopolis" here: