Crimes of The Future. Mind bender by dystopian auteur David Cronenberg

Lee Heidhues 5.28.2022

The Cannes Film Festival just concluded its two week extravaganza. 

Crimes of the Future received plenty of expected controversial buzz

David Cronenberg, 79, has never ceased to shock during his long career making dystopian, shocking, squeamish and thought provoking films. His latest is no exception. American audiences will be fascinated and, perhaps, shocked.

Some viewers may exit the theater. Others will be totally obsessed with the story.

Excerpted from – Tomris Laffly – 5.24.2022

Through a shocking sequence that plays like an oblique explanation of its title, David Cronenberg’s evasive mind-and-body-bender “Crimes of the Future” cracks open in its early moments, tracing a harrowing crime that gets committed during some nondescript time in the future, in the grim corners of a near-derelict home.

It’s a nimble, stylish prologue that functions as a keyhole into the vast and fleshly world the writer/director has erected: a little boy enters a grubby bathroom and starts to devour a trash can hungrily, like a freshly-minted vampire overeager to quench his newfound thirst for blood.

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Though this betrayal to the human-body-as-we-know-it wouldn’t be the only (or the actual) crime we’d witness. Soon, in an act of desperation, the boy’s repulsed mother would murder her offspring, having just witnessed the boy’s inexplicably inhuman appetite for plastic.

Based on this confidently uncanny opening alone, it makes sense to learn that it was towards the end of the 20th Century when Cronenberg conceived this story, in which our kind has mutated to grow new organs and evolved to make the notion of pain near-extinct. After all, that was the era that defined his carnal brand of cinema—namely, his preoccupations with the human body and the ways flesh intersects with the mechanisms and advancement of modern technology—and more or less ended with 1999’s “eXistenZ,” before concerns of the more visceral kind (of course, still with droplets of body horror) took hold of his filmography on this side of the 2000s.

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Viggo Mortensen and Lèa Seydoux

In that regard, “Crimes of the Future” (which shares a title and nothing else with a 1970 picture by the filmmaker) finds “the king of venereal horror” operate squarely in a universe that earned him this aforesaid label: you know, a world made up of the sliced torsos of “Videodrome,” the injured appendages of “Crash,” and the deliciously wicked eroticism that somehow flows through it all.