(Video on-demand, March 2013) The kindest thing one can say about Cospomolis is that after more than a decade spent in the wilderness of criminal realism, it’s good to see writer/director David Cronenberg go back (even partially) to weirdness and his longstanding preoccupation with the dehumanization of modern society. From the first few highly-stylised moments, it’s obvious that Cosmopolis is not going to be your average plot-driven thriller. Our protagonist may be a rich businessman driving around with the simple goal of getting a haircut, but the artificiality of the film is underlined at every second through fake visuals, elliptical dialogue obviously copied-and-pasted from Don Delillo’s short source novel and performances so devoid of normal emotion to make us question whether we’re truly seeing humans on-screen. For Robert Pattinson, this isn’t a good break from the Twilight series: His performance demands such a sense of detachment that we don’t get anything resembling emotion from him, and so no perceptible shift away from a hundred-years-old dispassionate vampire. (This is called typecasting.) It’s a film built to dwell upon the artificiality of life among the elite and it sort-of-works, but it sure feels like it takes a long time to make its points about the coldness of technology, capitalism and/or driving around in circles. It offers mildly thoughtful material, a few nude scenes, unexplainable plot points and an atmosphere that’s quite unlike any other film in recent memory. As a thriller, it’s a flat one-thing-after-another framework on which to hang ideas and intercutting monologues (the characters speak a lot but rarely respond to each other) –it’s a lot more interesting as a high-concept film with strung-together sound-bites. Still, it’s not uninteresting to watch even as an art-house experiment, and as would befit an intellectual thought-piece, a few lines may even stick in mind once the film’s performances fade away.