To a large portion of the American movie-going public, Robert Pattinson will always be known as Edward Cullen. Or, for those of us with only a passing familiarity of the subject, “that guy from those ‘Twilight’ movies.” No matter what his future holds, no matter how much he tries to distance himself from this ubiquitous franchise, he will never be able to escape its shadow.
Right or wrong, being associated with something as wildly divisive as the “Twilight” series is bound to earn anyone their fair share of detractors. However, if Pattinson’s recent career moves are any indication, he’s going to try as hard as he can to be seen as a serious actor. Even if that means alienating audiences along the way.
This past weekend, David Cronenberg’s “Cosmopolis” finally opened in Columbus, and it’s a film that seems certain to scare die-hard “Twilight” fans right out of the theater. It is a slow, contemplative, strange and virtually plotless film in which Pattinson plays a wealthy asset manager who travels through the streets of New York City with only one goal: getting a haircut. There are several stops and interruptions along the way, but to explain them all here would take far too long and potentially diminish the viewing experience.
All that needs to be known about the film is that it is quite clearly an attempt by Pattinson to run away from his past as quickly as possible. And potentially an attempt by Cronenberg to trick so-called Twi-hards into buying a ticket. If his Edward Cullen character is seen as the ultimate in pretty-boy love interests, “Cosmopolis” reveals a far more nefarious side of his image.
Over the course of the film’s 109 minutes, Pattinson commits a number of violent, adulterous and self-mutilating acts that will almost certainly make him appear far less desirable to his fan base. There isn’t a great deal of momentum to the proceedings, and it all leads up to a sudden, ambiguous ending that is sure to confound most. If this was Cronenberg’s intention, he certainly seems to be succeeding. According to the audience reaction poll on Rotten Tomatoes, “Cosmopolis” has pleased only 47 percent of those who have seen it. Anyone familiar with such polls will know that this number is shockingly low.
Yet when considering a film like “Cosmopolis,” it’s hardly surprising, though this number might please Pattinson. The final installment in the “Twilight” series has yet to be released, but “Cosmopolis” was filmed after production on both parts of “Breaking Dawn” were completed. This makes Cronenberg’s film his first step into the abyss of a post-“Twilight” world, and it’s a bold one to be sure.
“Cosmopolis” is not a perfect film, and at times it’s just a ridiculous one. But there’s no denying that this is a significant and telling career move for Pattinson. Instead of staying in the Hollywood system, he decided to star in a low-budget drama that seems destined to confound everyone who sees it. He might never completely break free of the “Twilight” chains, but “Cosmopolis” provides hope that he may still have a long, prosperous and fascinating career ahead of him.