North Texas Daily

“Crimes of the Future” quietly dissects the obsession with performative art

“Crimes of the Future” quietly dissects the obsession with performative art

“Crimes of the Future” quietly dissects the obsession with performative art
June 11
12:00 2022

David Cronenberg has always kept things fresh in the horror genre with his love of body horror and brain-melting. When it was announced we were getting a new Cronenberg film this year revolving around something as gruesome as surgery, many were excited to see what horrors would be unapologetically created.

Instead, this movie is one of the more tame ones to come from the director, which left some viewers underwhelmed. “Crimes of the Future” is able to show how words can sometimes be equally as loud as actions. If you love Cronenberg or excellent ensembles, this is something to add to your summer movie schedule.

When humans have adapted to feeling no physical pain, many take the opportunity to showcase what can be done to the human body. With these surgeries comes a need to raise the bar. When our main characters are presented with a way to take their show where no show has gone before, it becomes a matter of when it will happen rather than if.

This cast is led by three heavy hitters, making the movie so much more enjoyable because of their contributions. Viggo Mortensen and his character Saul Tenser brings more discomfort to the screen than a lot of the surgery sequences. A lot of people in this world are letting natural transformations happen to their bodies, but Tenser refuses.

Every time a new organ grows on the inside of his body, it is up to his partner Caprice, played by Léa Seydoux, to surgically remove it in front of an audience full of admiration for the duo. Kristen Stewart’s character, Timlin, seems to have a different type of fascination with Tenser and his lifestyle. If there was anything bad to say about the casting, we were absolutely robbed out of more Stewart screen time.

It can be easy to become frustrated with this film and its lack of body horror, but part of me feels it is because Cronenberg intended for it to be lighter in the gore category. This feels like one of those situations where fans of a certain director ask for something so much, that the director finds it funny to give them the exact opposite.

Without being too descriptive, this movie is extremely sexual. In this world, surgery is the new sex, and everyone is doing what they can to hop on the newest trend. These open surgeries are being performed less for amusement and more for pleasure. There were times when the reactions to the surgeries were more uncomfortable than the surgery itself, which is likely a big mission accomplished on what Cronenberg was shooting for. The practical effects were seamless, and if this movie deserves an award for anything this would be it.

This is an extremely quiet movie, with most set-pieces having little to no breathing room and character interaction mainly being one-on-one. You can’t help but drift away once or twice due to the heavy doses of dialogue, but there is always something to admire when it comes to movies being as contained as this one. It is also comically clear how much Cronenberg absolutely hates posers. A lot of people in this world misinterpret their own surgeries, and you can tell who is truly appreciative of this new lifestyle and who is just keeping up with trends.

The humor, while subtle, is also one of my favorite parts of the entire movie. It is so dry and strikes so quickly that by the time you are done laughing the film had already moved on to another scene sadistically mismatched in tone.

While this was a great Cronenberg film, it would be a lie to say it had no problems. Part of the pull for this film is the man himself. If any other director had made this, I probably would not be as warm to it. Then again, it’s hard to see anyone else taking on a project like this. Even with its lack of gore, the blood and guts are very present.

If you have any sort of fear revolving around surgery or blood, maybe sit this one out for the love of yourself. This was an enjoyable trip, but also an indescribable one. It may not be amongst his best, but “Crimes of the Future” does what needs to be done to make audiences squirm and adventure into a truly horrifying reality.

Jaden’s Rating: 3.75/5

Featured Illustration by Cuinn Cornwell

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Jaden Oberkrom

Jaden Oberkrom

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