Cosmopolis Teaser Seismically Shifts Critics Perceptions About Robert Pattinson

Revolutions are usually bloody affairs. Sweaty, shouty, violent things that leave a grim taste in the mouth. But sometimes, just sometimes, they’re golden. March 22 was such a day. That was the day, of course, that the online release of David Cronenberg’s first Cosmopolis teaser 180’d the majority critical perception of Robert Pattinson. Critics, film outlets, and a multitude of industry commentators previously queueing up to disparage Pattinson’s acting abilities are now saying just the opposite. In fact, they’re openly rapturous.

It wasn’t always thus. Unwilling – or perhaps unable – to see past Summit Entertainment’s YA-geared marketing of Pattinson, as the sensitive vampire rejuvenated by his love for a human teenager, most critics recoiled as Pattinson’s public persona became inextricably entwined with that of the fictional “super boy-friend” Edward Cullen. As The Twilight Saga franchise’s star rose – and that of its young leads – so did the derision.

While some of the reasons for that can be laid at the door of promotional saturation by Summit, some of the past snark aimed at Pattinson was undeniably an allergic reaction to the massive commercial success of the Twilight Saga movies. $ 2.5 billion box office and counting – a figure that doesn’t even include DVD/Blu-ray,VOD and merch sales – the resulting popular ascension of Pattinson was viewed by many critics as a kind of manufactured consent.

Witness the endless references to “Twi-hards” and fan “swooning” that inevitably accompanies any write-ups about Pattinson, even for his non-Twilight roles, in itself a mistaken generalization about a multi-generational audience demographic, and often simply a sexist dismissal of its mostly female component. 2010’s Remember Me, 2011’s Water For Elephants were considered too close to the “romantic” mould of the glittering one, and the recently released Bel Ami – actually shot more than two years ago – did little to change industry perceptions, despite the mitigating factors of a reductive screenplay and clumsy staging.

But now, remarkably, everything has changed. To quote an apt phrase; What a difference a day makes. 30 seconds of eye-popping imagery, scenes of Pattinson evidently well out of his comfort zone, have kicked off a chorus of delighted shock and optimism about Cosmopolis, the return of “old school” Cronenberg, and his rebooted and re-loaded leading man.

But should critics, being the ‘experts’, have been able to hold off on premature assessments about a still growing young actor who readily admits he is learning as he goes? Quick answer: Yes. Obviously no-one should be forced to like something if they don’t, but it’s also true that as subsequent Twilight Saga installments moved away from Catherine Hardwicke’s first “indie-toned” vision, the critical mauling of Pattinson (and his co-stars) began. A curious position to take for what was – ultimately – a studio decision.

The reality is, critics can, and often do, get things very wrong. Who can forget the reactionaryism that greeted “Fight Club’s” release in 1999; Pauline Kael’s review of The Graduate (1967) – “The Graduate only wants to succeed and that’s fundamentally what’s the matter with it”; Russell Maloney’s slam of The Wizard of Oz in 1939, James Agate’s famous line about Citizen Kane (1941), being “nothing to write to Moscow about”; Richard Hatch’s description of the Bette Davis scorcher All About Eve as hiding, “an unenterprising plot and some preposterous human behavior;” and John Simon’s astonishing rant in 1977 – “With Annie Hall, Woody Allen has truly underreached himself … it is a film so shapeless, sprawling, repetitious, and aimless as to seem to beg for oblivion.”

Thankfully that oblivion never came. For the sake of space this lamentable list has been shortened, but trust me there are countless more examples. But since “I told you so’s” are boring and hideously smug, a snapshot of the new mood about Pattinson, and some encouragement of the recent consensus to look forward rather than backwards, would perhaps be time better spent.

Twitter, that lightning barometer of opinion, was the one of the first to flood with effusive responses to the teaser. From just some of them [Italics added]: Evrim Ersoy of Rotten Tomatoes tweeted, “34 seconds of ‘COSMOPOLIS” has excited more than 4 minutes of ‘PROMETHEUS’ ever could … neon-washed madness, here we come.” Bill Arceneaux of Movie Boozer and Nola Film Events wrote, “ Can’t take the edge away from Cronenberg.” while Cinevue enthused, “Now THIS is a teaser!” Stuart Barr from Screenjabber said, “Oh wow, Cosmopolis looks like its going to be R’Patz’s American Psycho from the first teaser,” and film lecturer and short filmmaker, Ben Mallaby, tweeted,“David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis looks incredible! I might actually go and see a Robert Pattinson movie.”

Moving on to the big hitters. Indiewire’s Nigel M. Smith, described the teaser as a sign that, “David Cronenberg is back to his dirty ways,” adding, “we’re betting (hoping!) that we’ll get to see this one in Cannes.” A positively beaming Drew McWeeny at Hitfix declared, “The casting of Robert Pattinson in the film is one of those fiendishly clever strokes of genius from Cronenberg.” Then, “Just take a look at the trailer and tell me if it makes you smile as much as  it did for me.”

UK heavyweight, The Guardian, upping the ante in a piece about Cosmopolis’s pretty-much-almost-certain showing at the forthcoming Cannes film festival, said, “If Pattinson is looking to put some clear blue water between himself and those Twilight pictures, he could hardly have opted for a better choice than this.” Matt Goldberg at Collider admitted, “I can take or leave Bel Ami, but Cosmopolis looks pretty great and I’m eager to see Pattinson break free of his famous mopey vampire.”

Katey Rich at Cinema Blend chimed, “ if the kid can act, we haven’t seen it yet. But 30 seconds from now you’ll probably be able to put all those doubts to rest, because a short teaser for Cosmopolis is here, and it is fantastic,”and Oliver Lyttleton at Indiewire said of Pattinson,”Damned if he doesn’t look, in the very brief glimpses, right at home. Is it possible that all the doubters are about to be proved wrong with a terrific performance?”

Similar sentiments from Todd Brown at Twitch, Max Evry at Next Movie, Aubrey Sitterson at IFC, Complex’s Jason Serafino, Oliver Franklin at GQ magazine, Empire Online’s James White, MTV, Jordan Zakarin at The Hollywood Reporter, Den of Geek, Movie Line, Fused Film, Filmoria, ScreenRant, Ultraculture UK, Wall Street Journal and dozens more outlets (not to mention those in countries other than the U.S and U.K) added their own versions of “we’re-excited-about-this-teaser” comment – and they’re still flowing.

So, as we approach April 19, when definitive word from Cannes Festival organizers will confirm whether (or not) Cosmopolis will show, and of course, the film’s actual release (present dates May 23, France and May 31, Portugal) – what have we learnt? Simply this: If you want to see the best from someone, whether actor, director, friend or stranger, put hasty judgement to one side and they might just show you. As the dust of March 22 settles, this much is clear: Robert Pattinson can act.

Go on. Say it. Out loud.

 Cosmopolis “First” Teaser:

Additional information credit to

by Page Mackinley


  1. Oh who cares what critics say?? Thanks to Page i now know how right was i about critics and how they are almost always wrong. I saw Little Ashes a long long time ago…and as a Dali SUPER fan i thought he was BRILLIANT. That’s all i needed to be convinced about his talentS yes, plural…
    I’m from Argentina and here critics are a dying breed or should i say “muertos de hambre”? When we want to see a good movie we ask our friends or someone just tells you and that’s it you go and see it. If you don’t like it, you know you have different tastes and that’s that…which god gave them the power to destroy careers as they think they can? Please!!!…

  2. i told you this young man robert pattinson going to be great,this teaser of new film shows it.he carried of twilight like one of the greats,mine personally james dean if he would have lived,so good luck young man dont worry about,nerdowells wee are all watching avidly lots love ,joy in the making,

  3. One of the best articles I’ve read in a long time. ” Seismic” is exactly the word I’d use to describe what’s happening and I think that’s falrly obvious. It does makes you wonder if critics were thinking for themselves in the first place if they can flip so easily. The teaser looks great and I think a lot of people are going to be very suprised. I just hope Cronenberg doesn’t release too many teasers and give the whole fiilm away before it comes out.

  4. First of all Page, great article! Loved your line: “If you want to see the best from someone, whether actor, director, friend or stranger, put hasty judgement to one side and they might just show you.”
    I have full faith that Pattinson will blow critics away. Why? Because, for all the fanboys out there, he’s finally doing the type of film they approve of, with a venerable director who pulls no punches.
    But, pardon me, he’s always been able to act. So many of these critics are, to put it bluntly, resentful of Pattinson’s seemingly swift rise, and envious of his appeal to women. They accuse Pattinson’s female fanbase of being irrational and hormonal when they themselves are the same in their own likes. And they denigrate his performances because of their sexist dismissal of anything which appeals to women, which women enjoy, things like Twilight. Frankly, this actor’s performances to date have been very accomplished, including his portrayal of Edward (as anyone who knows this character understands). Pattinson was very good in Remember Me and Water For Elephants as well. (I’ve written articles about RM on the Unofficial Remember Me site, have studied that film.)
    Critics as a whole have, thus far, shown their virulent irrationalism, their abysmal lack of research, and gleeful bias when writing about this actor. It’s shameful and unprofessional. When Cosmopolis blows them away, I will say, ‘I told you so.’ I will also say, many intelligent, rational women who entertain the finer emotions knew Pattinson’s talent,skill and work ethic long before these ridiculous people who make a pretense of film criticism, and who sully this profession.
    I find it sad and unfair that it will be a violent, testosterone, edgy film that might turn the tide though, as if fine dramas he’s done are not good enough because they are ‘estrogen’ driven. I want these so-called ‘critics’ to try–if they are capable–to look at Pattinson’s ouvre again without bias. Objectivity. Now THAT would be a seismic shift!
    Of course Cronenberg had faith long before the fanboys. But then, who is he? Only one of the very best, and one who bows to no-one.

    1. Wow! you couldn,t have put it in better words, i totally agree with you, since i saw Little Ashes and How to Be he had my heart, and screw critics!

  5. I am puzzled that only the teaser, not the fact that Cronenberg sought Pattinson out for the role, created a seismic shift in perception. Never mind. It’s exhilirating to see critics finally drop their bias against him. They are a fickle and often unresearched, non-objective lot, so who knows how the wind will blow after the film is out. Anyway, thank you for well researched writing.

  6. How any critic can look at this 34 second clip – of which only the first 5 seconds is actual dialogue and the rest practically screenshots – and declare “Oh he can act after all” is just ridiculous. Of course we’ll be out there pointing fingers and saying “I told you so”, I’m doing it now before I’ve even seen this movie.

  7. funny, i saw the teaser trailer and thought he COULDN’T act. His accent was, as usual, absolutely horrible. He sounded like he was trying to do some sort of weird NY accent and he failed, miserably.

  8. That critics would turn from hating Pattinson to adoring him based only on what they have seen in the Cosmopolis trailer identifies them for what they really are: nothing more than fan boys. A real critic should view any movie objectively based on what that movie’s target audience is and whether or not it reaches that audience successfully, as well as whether or not it is well done, etc. That the critics are praising Pattinson based on thirty seconds of footage shows that they are not real critics at all, because the trailer does not show enough of anything to judge whether or not the movie or his acting has merit. Instead, the critics are jumping up and down with glee at the sight of kinky sex and gratuitous violence.
    In short, they are behaving like the male counterparts of Twilight fans. They’re just turned on by something other than romance.
    So now we see them in their true light. They are not real reviewers at all, simply people who don’t like romance and eschew it in all its forms, much preferring something that meets their idea of what is entertaining. It is a sad indictment, not just on their ability as reviewers, but on their personalities, taking into account what they consider worthy of praise.

  9. Thank you Page, well written and right on. I am no giddy teenager, and I tend to have strong opinions but today, about your Robert Pattinson critic’s turn around, I totally, agree. Since I started watching him, I believe this young man was going to be special. He has a special energy which peeks out despite the restrictions of script. I was so sick and tired of critics crucifying him because they have this indescribable hate for Summit and Twilight you can smell and taste it across the miles. RP was undeservedly branded. Luckily, I ignore critics and decide for myself. But many folks actually listen to these, these, so called experts( tongue in cheek) which can destroy careers. They never just accepted that Twilight was a teen fantasy, close to the books which were very popular. It was never meant to be Oscar worthy cinema. The actors had to bear this this venomous distain and did. Now all of a sudden, with Cosmospolis’ brilliant teaser, and WOW the young man may be an actor after all. All I have to say to this, like a kid, is well DUH! and welcome on board critics, we know he can act, you just woke up and detached Robert from Edward. So Robert has to literally shoot himself in the hand, and then oops, he can act? Opinions are litter for the wind to carry away.
    Thank you for this article, it was well worth the read. I really appreciate some positive prose for a change on Robert Pattinson.

  10. Great article! I agree that Cosmopolis looks great and hopefully guys will feel like they don’t have to trash him on principle anymore. I wish everyone could stop with the Remember Me and Water for Elephants trashing though. I loved those movies and I thought Robert Pattinson did a great job in them. Whether they are good or bad is a matter of opinion and not a fact. And I happen to think my opinion is just as good as theirs.;)

  11. Brava Page! You knocked this one out of the park. Love this write up and love the 180 of the critics. Couldn’t be more excited to see Cosmopolis and more from Robert Pattinson in the future. Thanks for this enjoyable, informative round-up.

  12. FINALLY some critic is saying that Rob can act!! About damn time but it is something other millions of women, including myself have known all along!! So happy that David Cronenburg cast him as Eric Parker, and that he says that Rob is great in this movie! And that goes without saying when DC makes a comment like that, and said Rob is a very talented actor. Maybe now the naysayers will shut up and give him a chance. And the so called “critics” will now have to eat a lot of crow!!

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