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‘Crimes Of The Future’: Movie Review And Rating

Robby Steven

‘Crimes of the Future’ is a 2022 body horror film written and directed by David Cronenberg. Starring Viggo Mortensen, Lea Seydoux, and Kristen Stewart, ‘Crimes of the Future’ is a return to form for Cronenberg with similar themes from his earliest work.

‘Crimes of the Future’: Summary and Set-Up

“Surgery is the new sex,” at least that’s what Kristen Stewart’s character Timlin says in David Cronenberg’s “Crimes of the Future.” Many themes are covered in Cronenberg’s return to body horror, but at its core, it’s about change.

David Cronenberg has a history of effective horror films that cover similar ground. Films like ‘Shivers,’ ‘Rabid,’ ‘Videodrome,’ and ‘Scanners’ are filled with social commentary hammered home with disturbing visuals. ‘Crimes of the Future’ is no different in that respect.

In a dystopian near future, humans have begun to adapt to the synthetic atmosphere and world around them. Most people can no longer feel pain, with others growing new organs even if there seems to be no purpose. Vigo Mortensen plays Saul Tenser who has the ability to grow new organs at an accelerated rate and uses this to take part in surgical performance art in front of an audience. Lea Seydoux is Caprice, Saul’s partner who performs the surgery to complete the artistic pair.

Saul and Caprice soon meet Timlin and her boss Wippet who work as investigators at the National Organ Registry. Both investigators, especially Timlin, show a growing interest in Saul’s unique ability. Saul faces uncertainty regarding how he wants to live, and how he must adapt despite his best efforts to push back.

Acting and Directing

The visuals in ‘Crimes of the Future’ are what you would expect from a Cronenberg body horror film, though nothing was as intense as some early reviews would suggest. Reports of major walkouts during the Cannes Film Festival seem overstated, however, those unfamiliar with Cronenberg’s work could easily be offended. The acting was more than stellar, particularly from Mortensen, Seydoux, and Stewart who anchor the story. Cronenberg trusts Mortensen, having worked with him twice before. The performances are always grounded and consistent, with none of the actors going over the top. The character that rises above the rest is Timlin, played brilliantly by Stewart. Her unique yet awkward approach to the character stood out and added to the film’s uncomfortable setting and themes.

Cinematographer Douglas Koch delivered a claustrophobic and bleak backdrop that only furthered the tone of the world created by Cronenberg. Howard Shore returns to score yet another Cronenberg film, having missed only once since 1979.

Ending: Spoilers

When we open the film, we see a young body who has an appetite for eating plastic. Disgusted, the boy’s mother smothers him to death with a pillow as he sleeps. The woman informs the boy’s father of what took place and to take his body away immediately. As the film moves forward, we find out that some people evolving are unable to eat normal food, and instead can only ingest plastic. The boy’s father, Lang Dotrice played by Scott Speedman, has bigger things in mind. Lang is attempting to grow a society that can adapt to eating plastic, and claims his son had the ability to grow the organs naturally without surgical procedure.

Lang is able to convince Saul and Caprice to do a live autopsy to show that his son’s organs were grown naturally. Saul, having trouble eating and swallowing, believes he is evolving in a similar fashion. The autopsy reveals organs that had been previously harvested and marked. The boy’s body had been in possession by the National Organ Registry, therefore, Timlin tinkered with the organs. Lang fleas in hysterics and is killed outside the building by two female government agents. As the film comes to a close, Saul struggles to eat and breathe. Noticing this, Caprice feeds him a bar of plastic. Saul stares off with a glaze of euphoria as the credits roll.

‘Crimes of the Future’ Final Thoughts and Rating

‘Crimes of the Future’ is a highly effective film, with elements of body horror and social commentary cementing themselves at the forefront. The current Rotten Tomatoes critics score is sitting at 79 percent. The audience score is not available as of press time. As with many Cronenberg films, ‘Crimes of the Future’ is not for everyone. This is a deeper film that makes you sit back and think. If a simple slasher movie is what you gravitate towards, Cronenberg’s latest might not be your slice of bread. However, if you are down for something more, ‘Crimes of the Future’ comes highly recommended. Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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