Director David Cronenberg adapts the book of the same name and provides one of the coldest movie-going experiences of the year.
Rich, young, 20-something businessman, Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson) decides that the day that the United States president visits his city is the perfect day to have a haircut. With his trusty bodyguard, Torval, (Kevin Durand) by his side, he sets off on an odyssey that is unlike any other day.
While stuck in traffic due to the aforementioned visit, along with a riot that continues to gather steam, Eric does not waver in his attempt to be freshly-shorn. His luxurious limo/even more luxurious office remains the main film location as the day presses on.
Eric meets with various associates, co-workers and lovers while venturing throughout the city. After receiving a prostate exam in the limo, (!) Eric starts to become worried and paranoid about his surroundings. As warnings from his associates state that his finances are dwindling and Torval informs Eric that there is a legitimate threat against his life, things begin to spiral out of control for the man who is used to having control of everything.
I pretty much have to start by saying that I didn't like this movie at all. Every single character speaks in large chunks of over-stylized and unnecessarily complicated dialogue while firing at a rapid pace. I have not read the book this film is based on, but I have to assume the book is the same way. This comes off as very annoying and could turn most people off of the film immediately.
Beyond that, there were many more things wrong with the film. From the wooden and cold acting of every participant (though intentional) to the horrendous CGI effects outside of the limo, this is a film that never really clicked for me. Kevin Durand's Torval stood out the most as his scenes were almost laughable at how Kevin Durand played the role and delivered his lines.
With that being said, I loved the overall sense of dread as the film built towards its climax. The bleakness and sense of doom was something that only a few directors could have pulled off; and David Cronenberg did just that. As the film builds, the riots get more intense and the threat on Eric Packer's life becomes more real. By the time we get to the third act, the film brims with dread but also a sense that we have been building towards something and David Cronenberg tries not to let the audience down. If you have made it to the third act, which basically consists of Robert Pattinson and Paul Giamatti talking (shocking, I know) then at least this was a film you could stand.
This movie did its job of isolating me and not caring about any of the players in this film. Just because the film did what it wanted, doesn't make it a good film. What saves it, in my eyes, is how much mood that director David Cronenberg is able to fit into every inch of this film. I was highly curious about this film, and though disappointed, I did not hate what I saw.
As a film, 1/10. As a mood piece, 10/10.
Overall experience is a 5/10