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Cronenberg's ambitious adaptation of the Don DeLillo novel follows a billionaire New York financier (Robert Pattinson) as he traverses a rapidly crumbling city in the backseat of his limousine on the way to a fateful (and perhaps fatal) appointment.
Determined to get a haircut, billionaire asset manager Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson) sets off across Manhattan in the custom-fitted limousine from which he runs most of his personal and professional life. Seemingly oblivious to the gridlock caused by a presidential visit, the massive street demonstrations by anti-capitalist protesters, and his own disastrously spiralling financial fortunes, Packer takes a number of meetings — scheduled and unscheduled, financial, philosophical, medical and sexual — in the backseat as the car crawls across town, towards both the much-desired trim and a fateful meeting with the mysterious figure who has threatened Packer's life. Cronenberg's adaptation of the Don DeLillo novel is his most assertively conceptual since Videodrome, deliberately eschewing realism in both its constricted, consciously artificial setting and elaborately structured, frigidly declaimed dialogue. Beyond this, however, Cosmopolis may represent the acme of Cronenberg's exploration of the dialectic between control and chaos: Pattinson's master of the universe, in (absurdly) complete command of every facet of his existence, ultimately uses that control to propel himself towards his own willed extinction.