David Cronenberg’s wild imagination has returned to the big screen with Crimes of the Future.
The film introduces us to a climate-ravaged, post-modern world, humans begin to undergo Accelerated Evolution Syndrome, in which their bodies undergo mutations and transformations in order to survive. “Surgery is the new sex” and performance artists such as, Saul (Viggo Mortensen) and his partner, Caprice (Léa Seydoux), publicly share ghastly body modifications for audiences to watch.
The marketing for Crimes of the Future has been REALLY selling the body horror elements of the film. However, the narrative is far more intellectual than what we have been seeing in trailers. In fact Crimes of the Future is an unsettling science-fiction film versus a creepy, torture porn.
Is the film weird, grisly, and uncomfortably sexual? Oh absolutely.
But what else would you expect from Cronenberg?
When you peels back the layers (heh. pun intended) the narrative creates an interesting world with thought provoking ideas of human evolution, the relationship between humanity and synthetic nature, and the relationship between pleasure and pain in a dystopian world.
And yes, weirdos, the grotesque surgeries and body mutilations get plenty of screen time. So if your squeamish, I would skip this one.
Although this new world is fascinating, the film meanders through its dense themes, resulting in a tedious and pretentious narrative. And just when things start to build, the film ends abruptly. For once, I will say a film desperately needed at least 15-30 more minutes to fully wrap up some needed character development…and even some of the plot.
Crimes of the Future could have been SO much more than what we got — especially with a very committed Viggo Mortensen at the helm, skulking around in Sith robes with a raspy voice and frail demeanor. Seydoux and Stewart also give solid performances, with Stewart stealing every scene with her quiet, quirky and awkward character, Timlin.
This may not be Cronenberg’s masterpiece, but it does prove he has some fresh ideas up his sleeve.
Final Thoughts: Although a fascinating and gruesome look at a new world, Cronenberg’s latest is more confounding than compelling leaving you with more mystery than resolution.