Having not helmed a film since his 2014 film ‘Maps to the Stars’ director David Cronenberg returns to his body horror interest with ‘Crimes of the Future’ and the expected gloopy effects that have featured so heavily in his similarly themed films. With a shocking scene of infanticide the film then introduces Saul (Viggo Mortenson) essentially a performance artist who uses his body as his art to grow organs where his partner Caprice (Lea Seydoux) herself a former trauma surgeon now part of his act extracting the organs to an eager audience – frankly it’s a world away from the performance artists of Covent Garden. For many at their performances this is an act of eroticism as much as anything else – ‘Surgery is the new sex’ says one character which suggests that surgeon are raving nymphomaniacs in desperate need of aversion therapy. This is very much a return to territory similar to that of Cronenberg’s controversial 1996 hit, ‘Crash’ which caused outrage and the surgery sequences may find audiences wincing
But Crimes of the Future is a typically Cronenbergian exploration of disease and the body in a future society where Saul and Caprice sign up with an organ registry run by Dr Nastir (Yorgos Pirpassopoulos) and his assistant Timlim (Kristen Stewart) who track the growth of new organs. Yet at the same time the Dr also wants what Sail for an Inner Beauty Pageant clearly adhering to the adage that ‘beauty is one the inside’ (in which case we’re guessing MP Denise Coffey was born inside out) in a bleakly, blackly comic aspect of the film. Saul is liaising with a vice squad officer investigating this whole murky world which gets ever bleaker with Lang (Scott Speedman) who fronts an underground movement that he believes will helm a new future for the world’s population that involves his own underground brand of chocolate bar that for once isn’t ever going to be stocked by those ropey US candy stores that litter Oxford Street and its him who ropes Saul and Caprice into what is the key to the opening scenes of the film.
As might be expected this is typically provocative philosophical pondering on the evolution of the human body and society itself in a film that has a lot of ideas going on some of which are perhaps deliberately open ended for discussion and there’s the expected at times grotesque imagery (graphic surgery is frequent) which unsettles rather than scares. Crimes of the Future is unlikely to attract new fans to Cronenberg’s work but is a return to an oeuvre that is distinctly his.
Watch the Crimes of the Future trailer HERE….