Title – Crimes of the Future (2022)
Director – David Cronenberg (The Fly)
Cast – Viggo Mortensen, Léa Seydoux, Kristen Stewart, Scott Speedman
Plot – With human evolution evolving into a strange new direction, performance artist Saul Tenser (Mortensen) and his partner Caprice (Seydoux) showcase a series of changes in a collection of public performances.
“We are creating meaning out of emptiness”
Review by Eddie on 14/11/2022
His first feature film since 2014’s divisive and mostly forgotten about Maps to the Stars, cult director David Cronenberg returns to the cinematic landscape with an unsurprisingly odd tale that reunites him with his early 2000’s muse Viggo Mortensen in the body horror sci-fi that is Crimes of the Future.
A film that defies a simple explanation or synopsis, Crimes is loaded with ideas, shock value and shady characters all brought to life by capable actors that here includes indie darlings Lea Seydoux and Kristen Stewart but while the film shares similar DNA to some of Cronenberg’s best features such as The Fly, Videodrome and The Dead Zone, there’s something severely lacking here that makes Crimes a unique viewing experience but one that lacks any heart, soul or cohesive threads to tie it all together.
Giving little away other than the fact Crimes takes place in a not to distant future where human evolution has reached a point of the unknown and with a potentially detrimental spin too boot, Cronenberg follows the exploits of Mortensen and Seydoux as the performing arts couple Saul Tenser and Caprice, who deliver confronting autopsy’s in front of wide-eyed audiences keen to get a glimpse of what mysterious internal evolution’s are happening within Tenser’s rapidly transforming body.
It’s a nightmarish concept and a nightmarish film with Cronenberg keeping things dark in tone and delivery at all times and it’s hard too exactly know what he was hoping to get out of the whole exercise other than to deliver yet another film that feels like it’s entirely its own beast and while it may be argued there’s a fair portion of darkly humorous angles in the film and some strangeness that one can only laugh at, there never feels like there is much point to anything happening here, making it hard to understand why the audience should engage with or care about anything happening here.
It’s most likely that those that find the most enjoyment from Crimes will be those seeking ghastly body horror, weird romantic kinks and a story that just never plays things out in a cookie-cutter fashion but after such a long hiatus between films one can’t help but feel disappointed it took so long for Cronenberg to return with a effort like this, one far removed from the highs of his long-standing career.
Final Say –
Undoubtedly original and likely destined for some form of cult-following, Crimes of the Future is a bizarre and cold experience from one of cinemas most unique voices, marking itself down as a disappointing return to the industry for the unflappable Cronenberg.
2 kneeling main characters out of 5