David Cronenberg regains his grotesque cinema in ‘Crimes of the Future’ – 07/12/2022

David Cronenberg has spent the last few years, shall we say, “domesticated”. It’s not that movies like “Burning Marks,” “Crime Lords” or “Cosmopolis” have lost a shred of intensity. The director’s most visceral and explicit signature, however, seemed to belong to the past.

“Crimes of the Future” shows, however, that there is still room in the filmmaker’s creative vortex to recover the flirtation with some of his obsessions. Body modification, social control, the fusion of man and machine – it all filters through his lens with uncomfortable and unpredictable results.

In the indefinite future, years of exposure to pollution and severe climate change have deprived humanity of its ability to feel pain or develop infections. This new condition meant that surgeries could be performed in public, such as exploring limits or even performing art.

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Léa Seydoux observes how Viggo Mortensen is… inside

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Two artists, Saul Tenser and Caprice (Viggo Mortensen and Léa Seydoux, at ease in directing the plot), are at the forefront of the movement. Especially since he suffers from a syndrome that accelerates the growth of new organs in his body, removed and cataloged by her.

This social framework is not well regarded by the government, which is already studying new forms of control to restrict the evidence of new human evolution. Bureaucrats, Kristen Stewart among them, stand in the way of artists in an approach that mixes threat and admiration.

Saul and Caprice are then approached by a group of radical evolutionists to conduct a live autopsy on the body of an 8-year-old boy born with the natural ability to digest plastic, proving that the evolutionary march goes beyond artificial tampering. of bodies.

The mixture of horror and science fiction has been present since the beginning of David Cronenberg’s career, with “Chills” and “Raging the Fury of Sex”. His style became more refined on “Scanners”, which also increased his fascination with body horrora subgenre that flirts with radical physical modification.

The modern classics “Videodrome” and, mainly, “The Fly”, brought the filmmaker in the perfect balance of the “art” film, with deep reflective proposals on the human condition, with the most explicit terror that doesn’t shy away from being uncomfortable with its exposure of blood and pieces of human flesh.

“Crimes of the Future”, in turn, debuts dialogue with two other works by the director. There is here the sexual pleasure associated with the fusion of man and machine, one of the themes of the sensational “Crash”, combined with the naturalization of intrusive technology in the human body with mundane purposes – such as entertainment -, brilliantly shown in “eXistenZ”.

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David Cronenberg directs Viggo Mortensen in ‘Crimes of the Future’

Image: MUBI/O2 Play

Cronenberg never thinks about slowing down when his goal is shock. His firm direction, however, prevents the elements in “Crimes of the Future” from being presented in a vulgar or gratuitous way. There is a certain lack of care in sharpening the political elements more clearly, but it does not compromise his vision.

Because that’s exactly what “Crimes of the Future” offers: a veteran author, seasoned on all sides of the industry’s trench, executing his artistic vision with no commitment other than the story itself. It’s not exactly an easy task or an easily digestible product. It’s not meant to be: we’re talking about David Cronenberg.

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