David Cronenberg focuses on the grim possibilities that humanity may have in its future in his hypnotic Crimes of the Future. A nightmare in that you could see his grim, emotionless world be a reality.
As the human species adapts to a synthetic environment, the body undergoes new transformations and mutations. With his partner, Caprice (Léa Seydoux), Saul Tenser (Viggo Mortensen), celebrity performance artist, publicly showcases the metamorphosis of his organs in avant-garde performances. Timlin (Kristen Stewart), an investigator from the National Organ Registry, obsessively tracks their movements, which is when a mysterious group is revealed… Their mission – to use Saul’s notoriety to shed light on the next phase of human evolution.
Something so mesmerising about David Cronenberg’s latest film, Crimes of the Future, lures you towards its sparse world. So be it the performances from Mortensen, Seydoux and Stewart, who bring us subdued yet compelling characters. The horribly gorgeous looking dystopian world that has you find yourself continually looking around, wanting to see more of it, to breathe it in, also fascinates you. Even Howard Shore’s score, which comes in only when necessary, allowing for a diagetic feel to Crimes of the Future, takes hold of you. Then we have the actual world we are in. People are venturing to more extreme measures with what they do with their bodies because they feel no pain in doing so. When you find yourself continually leaning in with your mouth agape, you know something special is happening.
The ideas that Cronenberg touches upon here could easily be seen as an actual future possibility is what adds to the fascination of Crimes of the Future. Whether that be in the shape of humanity furthering medical technology to the point where we now no longer feel pain, to the fact that by having such abilities as a world, we start to feel less.
This world could easily have gone in the other direction, to be pain and effectively untimely death free, so we could revel in every moment. Enjoy life without the fear of death coming for us. Instead, in Saul and Caprice’s world, we have lost that too. We just meander on in a subdued world, where we find pleasure in the grotesque. Pleasure in seeing a man be surgically ripped open and have innards prodded.
The worldbuilding in Crimes of the Future is barely there, we are plonked right into the middle of the story for these characters, and little is really explained. Cronenberg wants his audience to get their opinions on what is happening before them. He is also more concerned with showing the visuals of the extreme surgeries or art that people have resorted to. Yet also in the performances from his cast, there has been a clear directive for everyone to hold back emotion as much as possible.
Crimes Of The Future will be released in UK and Irish cinemas on the 9th September
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