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Crimes Of The Future – Cronenberg’s Body Horror Hurts More Than If It Were Done To Us

MOVIE REVIEW – The director creates a bizarre new society of sick sybarites, similar to his 90s film Crash, where the pain is the ultimate pleasure and “surgery is the new sex”.

 

 

“In an age of bloody confusion, nothing should be called natural,” Brecht said; after this film, things seem bloodier and more confused than ever. David Cronenberg’s new film, The Sins of the Future, is a genuine body horror film in the same extreme style as his Crash (1996), about a secret cult of connoisseurs dedicated to the erotic dimension of car accidents.

 

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Organic performance

 

The Crimes of the Future is set in an eerie future world where people’s bodies are changing, and everyone begins to suspect that they are on the verge of post-human evolution. Advances in medicine and pain relief have reduced physical sensation to the point where the pain is a thing of the past, so much so that a bizarre new breed of sickly sybarites is on the prowl. At the same time, the bodies themselves have shown themselves capable of growing new organs whose functions are not yet precise. Still, traditional sensual pleasures are also withering away, along with the disgust and fear that have always moderated human behaviour.

Viggo Mortensen plays Saul Tenser, a performance artist whose body is exceptionally fertile with new organs. His girlfriend, the former trauma surgeon Caprice (Léa Seydoux), helps him grow them – sleeping and eating in bizarre carbuncular cradles that look like Antoni Gaudí designed the hospital beds in the intensive care unit. Caprice occasionally takes out her scalpel and, in front of a live audience (who presumably pay for the privilege, although the mundane, pre-post-human question of what Saul and Caprice live on is not discussed), removes Saul’s strange new post-anthropocene organs and tattoos them.

 

thegeek Crimes Of The Future 3

 

Better Call Saul

 

Caprice and Saul have to report to an official government unit tasked with overseeing such things, headed by Wippet (Don McKellar) and his nervously uptight (and somehow strangely sexually overwrought) assistant Timlin (Kristen Stewart). He mumbles to Caprice that “surgery is the new sex” and tries to kiss Saul, who evasively replies, “I’m not very good at the old sex.” (Though perhaps this “old sex” dictated that the pretty young women in this film undress quite a bit.)

But Saul also secretly reports possible infractions to a cop in the New Vice Squad (Welket Bungué) and thus recounts his encounter with a certain Dr. Nasatir (Yorgos Pirpassopoulos), who wants Saul to demonstrate his highly creative yet stomach-churning physiology to a bizarre brain teaser called the “Inner Beauty Contest”. There’s also a ghostly figure named Lang (Scott Speedman), who claims that an anatomical examination of the corpse of his 10-year-old son, still in his possession, proves that homo sapiens have developed the art of digesting plastic.

 

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A deliberately upsetting and stomach-churning black comedy

 

In a sense, The Crimes of the Future is an epic and operetta-like black comedy that is also a huge outrage. The “inner beauty contest” would be more like the cliché that it’s “inner beauty” and not the outside that counts – though that’s obviously about valuing personality rather than beauty, not actual internal organs, as here. So comedy is definitely one of the viewpoints of The Future Crimes, and Kristen Stewart’s excellent performance is part of that.

However, the comedic interpretation is only one level of Cronenberg’s film – one could even say, to quote Kristen Stewert‘s character, that laughter is the old sex. Perhaps the point here is that the director has pushed the boundaries of the serious, the funny, the disgusting and the sexy more than ever before. Because, after all, these traditional categories never confined Cronenberg – which is why we loved him – and the director, who is nearly 80, has also taken his own artistic message to another level.

 

 

Not a remake

 

The director also stressed that this is not a remake of his 1970 film of the same name. Still, there are obvious similarities: the themes of the earlier film are transgression, clinical manipulation of sexuality, body fetish and the strange things that come out of the mouths of young people. It is perhaps more than a cinematic representation of an absurd mannerism and a work that depicts a human world that can no longer be contained within the conventional sense of human self-destruction and sci-fi stories of societal decay.

In some ways, this film could not be more apt, as we have just emerged from a global pandemic. Yet, we stand on the brink of a world war that has been almost incomprehensible for decades, while (even if we escape war) global warming destruction means we have who knows how many decades to go. And Cronenberg is doing what he’s always done: he’s putting us through a body horror at once (very specifically) stomach-churning, creepy, absurd and funny.

-BadSector-

 

MOVIE REVIEW - The director creates a bizarre new society of sick sybarites, similar to his 90s film Crash, where the pain is the ultimate pleasure and "surgery is the new sex".     "In an age of bloody confusion, nothing should be called natural," Brecht said; after this film, things seem bloodier and more confused than ever. David Cronenberg's new film, The Sins of the Future, is a genuine body horror film in the same extreme style as his Crash (1996), about a secret cult of connoisseurs dedicated to the erotic dimension of car accidents.     Organic performance…
In some ways, this film could not be more apt, as we have just emerged from a global pandemic. Yet, we stand on the brink of a world war that has been almost incomprehensible for decades, while (even if we escape war) global warming destruction means we have who knows how many decades to go. And Cronenberg is doing what he's always done: he's putting us through a body horror at once (very specifically) stomach-churning, creepy, absurd and funny.

Crimes of the Future

Direction - 8.2
Actors - 7.8
Story - 7.6
Visuals - 8.2
Ambience - 7.8

7.9

GOOD

In some ways, this film could not be more apt, as we have just emerged from a global pandemic. Yet, we stand on the brink of a world war that has been almost incomprehensible for decades, while (even if we escape war) global warming destruction means we have who knows how many decades to go. And Cronenberg is doing what he's always done: he's putting us through a body horror at once (very specifically) stomach-churning, creepy, absurd and funny.

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