is a 2012 drama film directed by David Cronenberg
, based on the 2003 novel of the same name by Don DeLillo.
Hermetically sealed in his high-tech stretch limo, financial whiz-kid/gazillionaire Erik Packer (Robert Pattinson
) is intent on three things: making a killing on the financial markets, talking his new high society wife into having sex with him, and—most importantly—getting a haircut from his favorite barber on the other side of town. None of these go as planned: the markets kill his
finances, he has sex with every woman but
his wife, and a series of traffic jams, riots, and promises to assassinate him slow Erik's commute to an agonising crawl.
This film provides examples of:
- Absurdly-Long Limousine: Exaggerated.
- Adaptation Decay: Averted. Cronenberg (who also wrote the screenplay) lifts larges chunks of dialog verbatim from DeLillo's original novel.
- Arc Symbol: Rats. Packer and Chin joke about rats becoming a world currency, anarchists fling dead rats at customers in a restaurant, and rioters in the street carry a papier-mache rat.
- Auto Erotica
- Bolivian Army Ending/ No Ending: The movie ends with the assassin standing behind Packer about to shoot him, before the Smash to Black.
- Conspicuous Consumption
- Cool Guns: Benno's accessory-encrusted pistol. He even admits he doesn't know what half the add-ons do.
- Creepy Physical: Packer gets a prostate exam. In his limo. While simultaneously having a conversation with his (female) chief of finance.
- Cryptic Conversation/One Scene, Two Monologues: In spades.
- Death by Materialism: The Smash to Black ending suggests this will happen.
- Dissonant Serenity: Packer throughout the entire movie. The scene where the anarchists are protesting outside the limo and his conversation with the assassin stand out though.
- Expy: "The Pastry Assassin" character is based on Belgian writer and provacateur NoŽl Godin, who pies famous people (e.g., Bill Gates, Jean-Luc Godard, and French president Nicolas Sarkozy) as a form of political protest.
- Extremely Short Timespan: All of the events in this film take place over the course of a single day.
- Gory Discretion Shot: Averted when Packer shoots himself through his hand to make a point.
- Groin Attack: Packer kicks the Pastry Assassin in the groin for hitting him with the pie. He seems not to mind.
- It Must Be Mine: At one point, Packer is intent on purchasing the Rothko Chapel, despite being told that it's not for sale at any price.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Packer's attempt to manipulate the Japanese currency markets wipes out most of his personal fortune, and possibly others' fortunes as well.
- Not With the Safety On, You Won't: Packer's bodyguard boasts that his pistol has a coded, voice-activated safety. Packer persuades him to demonstrate how it works. Unfortunately for the bodyguard, he does it when the gun's in Packer's hand. Cue No Range Like Point-Blank Range Boom, Headshot.
- Phrase Catcher: Several characters repeat lines of dialogue multiple times, most notably Elise who repeats "I understand none of it" or some variant at the end of each of her lines.
- Pop Star Composer: The Canadian band Metric collaborated with Cronenberg's long-time composer Howard Shore on several of the soundtrack's songs.
- Potty Emergency: Averted: Packer is seen urinating into the limo's pull-out sink.
- Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!
- Stun Gun: After Packer has sex with his female bodyguard, she teases shooting him with her taser.
- Toronto Doubling: For New York City. Then again, Cronenberg shoots all his movies in Toronto anyway...
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: While Eric and his chief of finance are talking, rioters vandalize Eric's limo, carry a giant rat past the window and rock it back and forth. Neither of them comment on this at all.
- You Have Failed Me: A possible explanation for why Packer kills his bodyguard is that he failed to protect Packer from the pastry chef.
- Your Cheating Heart: Packer has sex with his bodyguard and art adviser, despite being married.