Eight long years, that is how long it has taken for David Cronenberg to come back and give audiences a taste of his sick twisted mind once again. After premiering at Cannes and hearing about the numerous walkouts there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that Cronenberg is back and better than ever. However, after seeing Crimes of the Future, is he? Sure, the movie is absolutely gut churning and disturbing and some of the imagery will haunt you for a while, but it’s certainly tame. Now that is not to say there is not plenty for the Cronenberg fans to love and indulge in within his newest work, it’s just to say expect more things akin to new Cronenberg vs the old days of Crash, eXistenZ, Dead Ringers, Naked Lunch, The Fly and the alike. As well, Crimes of the Future has a very specific message it wants to relay to its audience that needs a little bit of detective work to get across, but once you realize the internal dialogue that Cronenberg has laid out for his audience throughout the film, the harsher imagery goes much further than the body horror presented on screen.
Crimes of the Future focuses on two avant garde art performers consisting of Saul Tenser played by Viggo Mortensen and Caprice played by Lea Seydoux, as they’re trying to navigate the new world they live in, where human bodies are adapting and growing new organs and new body parts. Throughout his birth of new organs, he gets Caprice to perform live autopsies on him, to remove the extra organs and show them off to the crowd and then categorizes them with the National Organ Registry which is led by Wippet played by Don McKellar and Timlin played by Kristen Stewart. However, they’re not alone in being fascinated by the new world and growing organs, as there is a detective whose also intrigued by what is happening in the form of Detective Cope played by Welket Bungue. On top of everything going on in this ever changing human condition and world we now find ourselves in, there is an underground group of people who can no longer consume food, and have to only consume plastic which is led by Lang Daughtery played by Scott Speedman. The paths of Saul and Lang are destined to cross one another and intersect to something more sinister than anyone could ever anticipate.
During a Q&A that Cronenberg did with select cast he shed some light on his direction style and how he approaches movies and it certainly provided an insight as to his film making style but the choice of actors he uses and reuses. It was stated that he really only ever wants to do one or two takes and calls it a day then. As well as he is relatively laid back with his directing approach and rather hands off and it reflects in the performances his actors bring to the forefront of the film. There is so much trust and respect between cast and crew and it truly does reflect in their performances.
Everyone in Crimes of the Future delivers one hundred and ten percent, there is no one who doesn’t give it their all and it shows in the finished product. With Viggo Mortensen clearly being a favourite of Cronenberg’s as this is their fourth collaboration together, he is nothing shy of magnificent and brilliant, the same can be said for Don McKellar as well. However, it is Kristen Stewart who delivers her signature style of awkwardness and curiosity that she has become known for, but in almost a curiously sinister manner that brings a new depth and nuance to her performance that fits the ideology and themes of Crimes of the Future that much more coherently.
There is a ton to unpack with Crimes of the Future and it would truly be a disservice to not let audiences discover it for themselves. So with that being said, remember there is more in the plot than just the body horror on screen, and the true horrors lay within the messaging Cronenberg tries to relay though his provocative script.