Crimes of the Future (2022)

Crimes of the Future (2022)

Movie Details

Movie: Crimes of the Future (2022)
Director: David Cronenberg
Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Léa Seydoux and Kristen Stewart
Genres: Horror/Sci-fi
Release date: 25 May 2022
IMDB Rating: 5.8/10
Languages: English, German, Persian, Korean, and Hungarian
Duration: 1h 47m


Crimes of the Future (2022)


Although David Cronenberg made a feature-length film called Crimes of the Future back in 1970, this year’s novelty is not a remake, continuation, or expansion of it – apart from the title, the author does not return to his half-century-old experiment. However, we can find a non-negligible connection to Cronenberg’s previous work in it. After more than two decades, the self-proclaimed king of body horror is returning to combining sci-fi patterns with terrifying overtones, which made him famous mainly in the 80s. Unfortunately, this is not an classiic concluding a long-term exploration of the limits of the human body.

First of all, it should be noted that the genre designation “horror” is not entirely accurate, rather it is a terrifying science fiction with body horror elements, but no terrifying scenes take place. Cronenberg presents a picture of society of the near future, in which the slogan is constantly repeated that surgery is the new sex. People are obsessed with body modifications that go far beyond mere functionality. Due to the radical lowering of the pain entry, pain reliver is no longer necessary, and people therefore not only do not feel pain but feel almost nothing at all.

This is also why destructive interference with the human body is not as much of a problem as it used to be, and several modern artists make full use of their body shell – and abuse it to no small extent. This is also the case with the main character Saul (played by Viggo Mortensen), whose body also suffers/stands out from accelerated evolution syndrome: Saul’s organs are constantly growing, so his body undergoes permanent transformation. While Saul and the other artists take advantage of this situation with performative surgical acts, during which they have excess body parts cut off in front of the audience, the company is wracked with controversy. Is accelerated evolution a natural process that should be respected and cherished, or is it an undesirable phenomenon that should be fought against?

Cronenberg’s terrifying vision based on the ad’s crazy far-fetched ideas of transhumanism (i.e. the artificial enhancement of the human body) suggests a very rich world overflowing with complex social relations. However, the film doesn’t deal with most of these shots, and that’s partly a good thing – a clear understanding of such structures would probably take several seasons of the series, so it makes sense that the film focuses on its characters. However, the negative consequence of such an approach is the fact that most of the time we do not sufficiently understand what needs to be done at the moment and why – the rules of this game are not at all clear. And so all that remains is to connect to the mental processes of the characters and experience a certain development with them.

In addition to the already somewhat tired Saul with self-destructive stunts, we also see his partner Caprice (Léa Seydoux), who performs necessary (and sometimes unnecessary) surgical procedures during the performance. Despite such a vital role, she does not receive nearly as much attention as Saul, which causes some tension between the pair. However, the nature of their relationship, like most, is somewhat unclear, as there is no traditional love relationship to speak of in this fictional world. Yet there is a kind of hard-to-define connection between these close associates.

The representative of the Office for the Control of Newly Grown Organs, played by the traditionally twisted Kristen Stewart, also enters the scene. The low down and shifty feel is held together by Howard Shore’s atmospheric soundtrack.

However, due to the reluctance to explain and offer clear answers, the film has an already slow pace, at times dragging oneself from nowhere to nowhere. There would be more than enough topics to discuss – the connection between art, sexuality, and the human desire to cross borders; sustainability of the (not only cultural) industry; or human fascination with threatening technologies.

Cronenberg wanted to shoot Crimes of the Future at the beginning of the millennium, and the main principles of the project at that time were no different from the current one: the fascination with operations and public self-mutilation as erotic stimulation in a strange society from the near future. The current result cannot therefore be considered Cronenberg’s reflection of self-disclosure on social networks or the advancing commercialization of sex in popular culture. So what’s left? Above all, the author’s still fascinating imagination, which, even at the threshold of eighty, can be compared with creators of generations younger. However, the film in its final form is not a very satisfying spectacle either in the audiovisual or narrative sense of the word.

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