David Cronenberg trades in body horror. Those late night nasties that you used to watch on Channel 4 when you were a kid, only to find years later that these cult classics that made the name of one of the most unique Hollywood minds. Videodrome, The Fly, Scanners, Dead Ringers, Naked Lunch, Crash…There's been a period, of about seven years now, where he has turned his hand to more traditional narrative drama - and to great acclaim with films such as A History of Violence, Eastern Promises and last year's A Dangerous Method, the psychological love triangle between Michael Fassbender's Freud, Viggo Mortensen's Jung and their protégé Sabine, played by Keira Knightley.
His new film is an uncomfortable - and uncompromising - amalgam of the two. Less body horror and more brain horror, it proposes the question, 'What do you do when your fears are realised?' Those intangible thoughts that trip through your mind before you have a chance to capture exactly what they are? This is the currency that this film lives on.
Robert Pattinson is Eric Packer, a 28 year old billionaire - a master of the money markets. He wants a haircut and insists on travelling across the city, despite there being in his way the funeral for a slain rap star and a presidential visit. Why would this stop him? Packer is, what Tom Wolfe would describe as 'Master of the Universe'. In the 1980s, we were given Tom Hanks, but this is the 21st century and the song might remain the same, it's Don DeLillo's source material we're playing with here. Humanity is as rabid as Cronenberg's film of the same name. Back to his surreal best (in this reviewer's humble opinion, there are many that would disagree), Cronenberg presents us with his version of downfall and excess; a thoroughly postmodern bonfire of vanity.
Cosmopolis is on general release now.