Cert: 15 Runtime: 109 mins Director: David Cronenberg Starring: Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche, Sarah Gadon and Paul Giamatti
My prostate is asymmetrical
New York. Another high-octane day at the complex for Eric Packer (Robert Pattison), full with multi-billion dollar operations enacted in milliseconds. Banking on models and intuitive analysis Eric plans to derail the Chinese yuan, aided by wacko genius employees and his own subversive brilliance. Nonetheless the focus of this particular day is getting a haircut.Eric enters his 6 metres long limo to embark on a trip downtown to meet up with his barber. The president is in town, a famous rapper is having his funeral procession, anti-capitalist activists are having a field day and Eric’s security informs him of a personal death threat. Despite this Eric proceeds on his escapade, along the way meeting up, amongst others, with his doctor (for his every-day check-up), his lover, his ideological guru and his newly wedded billionaire wife…Robert Pattison got a lot of meat thrown at him for this role – slightly too close to his Twilight comfort zone, as he plays a decadent arrogant narcissistic big-shot in search of feelings, impulses and shock to the system. Devoid of a moral compass he focuses on the fabric of nature, its regularities and within those find comfort and coherence to his life. This day however he discovers he has an asymmetric prostrate, something without apparent purpose or meaning, while the yuan just doesn’t want to be forced into models created from his brilliance.
All along the way he increasingly enters self-destruct mode, at the same time pushing his boundaries to get an emotional discharge (including shooting his bodyguard point blank in the head), as part of his silent cry for help. This ultimately leads to a confrontation with his would-be killer, hoping for a semblance of catharsis. This however fails to offer resolution, as the killer in turn fails to deliver motivation, sense or logic. Or something in that alley…A very frustrating Cronenberg movie, which feels overly theatrical and most characters are emotionless receptors for Eric’s psychosis. During viewing I pinned down the overwhelming feeling to two words: aseptically pointless. An exercise in intellectual dialogue, that verges on self-serving contentiousness, but manages to avoid that due to the quality of most of the content. Nothing surprising given the source material. Therein however lies the problem, as the movie must take various shortcuts through thoughts and characters to deliver the gist, but ultimately offers a product that feels like a lousy and heavy-handed substitute. Leaving the movie I felt mind-raped with a strong view, that full contemplation requires a re-watch.