From James’s Film Reviews:
But the film really belongs to Robert Pattinson in the central and very difficult role as the, initially at least, extremely unsympathetic role as Eric, driven by a purely superficial, almost megalomaniac sense of greed.
Pattinson’s teen-vampire Twilight days are far behind him. This is a simply a brilliantly nuanced performance, his mesmeric features the epitome of poise, as Eric’s self-assurance erodes away his soul. Surely he’s in win a chance for a nominee for Best Actor in February? Sinewy, measured, calculating and colder than the Arctic Circle, it’s an achievement that Pattinson encompasses all this, while not making him any less captivating at the same time.
There’s really not much to criticize about this experience. What could have so easily been a risky, languid leaden-heavy film, just by its very nature, is, instead both a gripping visual metaphor for our time, and a master-class in artistic prowess. All the flare which is now a customary expectation from Cronenberg is present in an abundance of originality – whether it’s the low-level sterility of the cinematography, or the telling gaps in between dialogue, which often tell the audience more than the characters do.
What makes this truly exceptional however, is the unique quality its premise possesses. I can’t think of a film drama, which executes the form of setting itself almost exclusively in one location, quite so well. Roman Polanski’s brilliant Carnage managed it to acidic comic effect, but the dynamics of that firework-ensemble are entirely differently handled, compared to this, periodically put together concept, whereby different characters enter and exit the limousine in turns. I admire greatly the theatricality which that both demands, and delivers with a certain clinical flourish, somewhat reminiscent of one of my favourite plays, albeit in another time and location – Stephen Daldry’s similarly daring revival of An Inspector Calls. Both projects regardless of their medium, not only astound the eye, but also force us to conduct a moral examination of our hearts and souls, as well as our roles within the greater consciousness.
This is a supremely daring, occasionally violent alert of the senses: (towards the end, there’s a startlingly realistic bullet-through-the-hand shot), and an ending so open (or closed), it’ll play on you for weeks afterwards. Cronenberg continues an eclectic display of skill across a versatile selection of genres.A haunting, darkly triumphant masterpiece, with a fantastic performance from Pattinson. One of year’s most original pieces of work – as well as one of the most memorably impressive.