Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.
France/Canada/Portugal/Italy, 2012. Alfama Films, Prospero Pictures, Kinologic Films, France 2 Cinéma, Téléfilm Canada, Talandracas, France Télévisions, Canal+, Rai Cinema, Radiotelevisão Portuguesa, , The Harold Greenberg Fund, Jouror Productions, Leopardo Filmes. Screenplay by David Cronenberg, based on the novel by Don DeLillo. Cinematography by Peter Suschitzky. Produced by Paulo Branco, Martin Katz. Music by Howard Shore. Production Design by Arvinder Grewal. Costume Design by Denise Cronenberg. Film Editing by Ronald Sanders. Cannes Film Festival 2012.
David Cronenberg adapts Don DiLillo’s novel a little too faithfully in this listless drama about a corporate wunderkind (Robert Pattinson) who runs his entire life from the back of his mammoth limousine. Even those unfamiliar with the novel will be perfectly aware of the screenplay’s origins, with its dialogue between characters coming off as literary text that is always discussing subjects without ever fleshing out their dramatic possibilities. Pattinson consults with various colleagues in his car, some professional and some physical, and they wax poetically on the state of the world today, but there are absolutely no stakes involved here: the ice never melts on a film whose beautiful photography reveals it to have nothing underneath. Pattinson embodies the role of accomplishment without substance extremely well except for a terrible habit of mumbling most of his dialogue (ironically, he yells at a character to speak loudly and clearly at one point). A terrific cast including Juliette Binoche and Samantha Morton is wasted in impenetrable roles, while Paul Giamatti further descends into self-important douchebaggery with his concluding performance in the film’s most interminably unwatchable sequence. I prefer the great filmmaker’s oeuvre from the time when he felt compelled to entertain as well as enlighten.