Compared to the film’s teaser, the poster for David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis is markedly demure, a tame puppy to the preview’s rabid dog. What it first exudes is the high-society life that’s lived by Robert Pattinson’s finance superstar, Eric Packer, a 28-year-old billionaire created by novelist Don DeLillo. The movie, like the book, sees Packer trek across Manhattan for a haircut, and on the way damage his fortune and encounter all sorts of crazy, Cronenbergian shit. By all evidence (material, maestro, and frantic first glimpse), this chic one-sheet is your invitation to jump off the cliff, to leave crisp and shiny decorum behind and tumble down the hole at which Pattinson seems to be staring. Like the poster for Eastern Promises, it presents crossed hands as the ultimate depiction of a man at a crossroads, where the tick of time (hence the watch) is decibels louder. Whereas the cover of DeLillo’s book shows the pivotal limo from an external distance, this poster brings you inside, promising a ride that’s as intimate as it is untamed.
“Pattinson. Cronenberg. Cosmopolis.” There’s no question that allowing the heartthrob’s surname to stand alone is a testament to his proven abilities as a major box-office draw, but this image also reflects the first time Pattinson has been taken as seriously by an auteur as he is by legions of unwavering fans. That Pattinson and Cronenberg are getting equal billing speaks volumes about the director’s confidence in his star, and it pretty much cements this 25-year-old as having the finest post-Twilight career of the mega-brand’s insta-celebs. It’s a lot more telling, for instance, than Cosmopolis being voted “must-see movie of the year” on MTV.com, whose readers probably didn’t look far past that stubbled jawline. What’s surely more enticing for a different set of viewers is the eclectic international cast whose names line the bottom: Juliette Binoche. Mathieu Amalric. Samantha Morton. Paul Giamatti. Pattinson has found himself in some truly ace company, and the film’s test, beyond adapting a novel that wasn’t so well received, will be proving that this actor has mustered the chops to lead it.
The casting is apt, of course, because Packer, like Pattinson, is a golden boy in his prime, a youthful, powerful pretty face at the apex of a business. Those aren’t reading lamps in the back of that limo, but spotlights, and they’re fixed squarely on the actor and the character. The deeper context of this poster makes it better than its style, which, though immensely attractive, is a tad too reminiscent of very recent predecessors. In text and natural glow, it’s almost the twin of the poster for Like Crazy, and its minimalistic, lens-flare-kissed business man brings us right back to the ads for Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds. That said, the design is more successful than both of those it echoes, finally sealing its impact with the inclusion of a rear window. That’s not a comforting glow peeking into the limo’s cab, it’s a setting sun, and as Packer’s day-long journey makes its way into night, he’s leaving the past behind him.