Crimes of the Future is a 2022 science-fiction horror drama written and directed by legendary Canadian film maker David Cronenberg. Though it shares a title with Cronenberg’s second movie of the same name (released in 1970), this film is totally unrelated to the earlier movie.
The premise of Crimes of the Future is typically offbeat and quirky. Humans adapt to a synthetic environment, with new transformations and mutations. With his partner Caprice (Lea Seydoux), Saul Tenser (Viggo Mortensen), celebrity performance artist, publicly showcases the metamorphosis of his organs in avant-garde performances. (IMDb)
Crimes of the Future is a heavily concept-driven film but very light on characterisations. The theme of human evolution is explored deeply through various disturbing and shocking sequences of body horror. In this new reality, humans no longer feel pain and are immune to infectious diseases. Thus, inexplicably, humans are now re-evaluating their views about the body.
Into this environment, society is responding to threats of altered humans, who no longer eat normal food but instead turn to synthetic alternatives, as their digestive systems have evolved biologically. The authorities are depicted as working against this new group of evolved humans, branding them as ‘unnatural’ and treating them accordingly.
Our main character Tenser is a strange bird – he is characterised as being uncomfortable with eating and sleeping and his body is growing new organs of unknown functions, which he excises live in his performance art with his partner Caprice. However, there is more to Tenser than meets the eye – he is conflicted by the need to adapt to his evolving body as well as to prevent the changes he is experiencing. Ultimately, Tenser is desperately looking for a resolution to this conflict.
As mentioned before, the characters are not developed whatsoever and come across as cyphers – there are even characters whose motivations are never ever explained. Basically, Crimes of the Future is conceptual art – an arthouse horror show – that straddles both genres. Which makes this film bizarre at best and inaccessible at worst. Fans of Cronenberg’s previous genre works e.g. eXistenZ, Videodrome and The Fly, will enjoy Crimes of the Future.
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