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Movie Review

Release Date: 06/03/22 [In Cinemas]

Genre: Drama/Horror/SciFi

Studio: NEON


"Humans adapt to a synthetic environment, with new transformations and mutations. With his partner Caprice, Saul Tenser, celebrity performance artist, publicly showcases the metamorphosis of his organs in avant-garde performances."


David Cronenberg’s Crime of the Future is a lethargic sci-fi horror that has fascinating themes and a confused message that never manages to reach a sensible conclusion. The name Cronenberg, accompanied by the word “horror”, generates a distinct set of expectations that it’s safe to say weren’t entirely met. In fact while the film is incredibly artistic, disturbing and grotesque, it never quite reached the squeamish level I had anticipated from the trailers. 


At the 2022 Cannes Film Festival, members of the audience walked out of a screening for the film which accumulated rumors of disturbing content, but if I had to guess they left due to the film’s drowsy pacing. Crimes of the Future pushed on the gas from the start, with an excellent opening scene to lure you into the film’s possible odd nature but while the film remains odd, it never quite captures the image of a young boy eating a wastebasket piece by piece. 


Visually the film is somber with any given shot polluted by a bleak influence, causing the film to be a dreadful eye sore. The practical effects and sets immerse you into the futuristic world Cronenberg has crafted, but even so, it can only hold one’s attention for so long with its complex, without reason narrative. 


The characters within the world have started to evolve and in doing so have eliminated pain for many and exchanged it for pleasure. Pleasure is pain. Pain is pleasure. Performers like Saul Tensor (Viggo Mortenson) and his creative partner Caprice (Léa Seydoux) present performance art that to the eye of the beholder could be determined as torture porn. We see numerous examples of performance art during the feature, but none ever cause a turn of the head or a closing of the eye; they’re intriguing but needless at a certain point. 


Mortenson is magnificent in his role, really leaning into the nature of his character’s disease in which the duo take advantage of for their art. He is mysterious, content, and hushed. Seydoux is unpredictable and showcases a woman fighting off her sensibilities to become the host of her own life and show. Kristen Stewart and Don McKellar’s roles remain a sort of mystery to me; what was their purpose in Tensor’s story? While McKellar and Stewart deliver adequate to fantastic performances as Timlin and Wippet, depending on any given scene they are easily outshone by the two leads. That is apart from one scene in which Timlin corners Tensor in her office, in a rather disturbing display of affection - Stewart is phenomenal in this moment. 


The largest issue with Crimes of the Future is its lack of clarity in where it wants to conclude. There are far too many questions left with no answers and its decision to end so suddenly, left me more than irritated with its finality. For all that I’ve heard of Cronenberg over the years, his weirdness seems to be the one thing that translated in Crimes of the Future, everything else must have been left on the chopping block. Crimes of the Future should have been so much more: more intense, more gory, but most of all it should have been more captivating.

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