Sunday, June 5, 2022

Crimes of the Future

Movie Name:
Crimes of the Future
Year of Release: 2022
Director: David Cronenberg
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Lea Seydoux, Scott Speedman, Don McKellar, Kristen Stewart, Tanaya Beatty, Nadia Litz, Welket Bungue, Ephie Kantza, Lihi Kornowski, Yorgos Pirpassopoulos, Jason Bitter, Sozos Sotiris, Denise Capezza
Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi, Horror
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6
View Trailer

Synopsis and Review
Writer/Director and occasional actor David Cronenberg is back, following an eight year hiatus since the premiere of his previous feature, "Maps to the Stars". "Crimes of the Future" is also an original script of his, the first he has tackled since he directed "eXistenZ" in 1999. The film which takes place in the near future, focuses on a couple known for being performance artists. Saul Tenser and Caprice, those are their names, have an artistic process where she takes/removes new organs that have developed within Saul, doing so on stage, using sophisticated and somewhat clinical devices (she was previously a medical professional who specialized in trauma). Saul experiences discomfort when sleeping and even eating, as if though his body is fighting against some of the habits and foods he is providing. This is something he and Caprice can't quite understand. Their name recognition in the art world brings them under the attention of the National Organ Registry and its two investigators. They are researching and documenting interesting developments occurring in human bodies. Saul has also fallen under the attention of Lang Dotrice, who has quietly and alongside an army of anonymous collaborators, been developing food substitutes based out of plastic. As Saul realizes all these different agendas, he alongside Caprice, have to tackle a demanding challenge from Dotrice and be truly faced with how human bodies have changed and adapted to the world itself.
"Crimes of the Future" is an interesting mélange of quite a few David Cronenberg films, including aspects of "Videodrome", "Dead Ringers", "Naked Lunch" and also the previously mentioned, "eXistenZ". The film once again plays with the concepts of what the human body actually is, and just as importantly, how the body has evolved in the face of the ecological meltdown humans have brought on the planet itself. It continues to expand on the themes of the director, though this time around, the element that seems to falter more bluntly in the film, is the contextualization of the narrative itself. In all of his films, Cronenberg has always managed to operate with limited budgets, but thanks to very resourceful production design teams, the universes he illustrates are usually impeccably rendered. This time around however, the choice of film location, and even the production design itself, fails to create something truly unique, mostly highlighting the limited budget of the production. Also the theme of Performance Art in which these characters move through, feels just a bit too artificial (it doesn't mesh as well as the artists he previously captured in his narratives, for instance in "Scanners"). The cast is however deeply invested in the narrative, and they're all solid presences, including Viggo Mortensen (who worked with Cronenberg in "A History of Violence", "Eastern Promises" and "A Dangerous Method"), Lea Seydoux, Kristen Stewart and Don McKellar. It's a very interesting journey, one that definitely aligns with many of the topics the director likes to focus on, but ultimately this journey feels under developed, something that his previous endeavors, particularly the ones from the 70s, 80s and 90s always excelled on. It's nonetheless worth watching, from a truly unique voice in cinema.