Crimes of the future

Crimes of the future
Original title:Crimes of the future
Director: David Cronenberg
Running time:107 minutes
Release date:03 june 2022
As the human race adapts to a synthetic environment, the human body is subject to new transformations and mutations. With the help of his partner Caprice (Léa Seydoux), Saul Tenser (Viggo Mortensen), a famous performer, stages the metamorphosis of his organs in avant-garde shows. Timlin (Kristen Stewart), an investigator for the National Organ Registry, is following their practices closely. Then a mysterious group shows up: they want to take advantage of Saul's fame to reveal to the world the next step in human evolution...

Mulder's Review

David Cronenberg is undoubtedly a great director who was able to impose his unwavering touch on the horror cinema and marked forever our memories of cinephiles by shocking and violent films which revealed that he was undoubtedly one of the masters of modern horror. Whether it is Shivers (1975), The Brood (1979), Scanners (1981), Videodrome (1983), Dead Zone (1983) and The Fly (1986), unfortunately the films that followed seem to be mostly bland and don't have the same emotional power as Naked Lunch (1991), Crash (1996), eXistenZ (1999) and more recently A Dangerous Method (2011), Cosmopolis (2012) and Maps to the Stars (2014). Certainly, A History of Violence (2005) had managed to conquer us but his last films seemed to have been elaborated by a director who was disconnected from his audience and was content to use his artistic freedom to make films that were close to his heart without worrying if they would meet their audience or end their career in dark corners of cinephiles nostalgic for the great era of a director then visionary.

His new film Crimes of the Future could have marked his big comeback to cinema after more than eight years of absence (his last film to date Maps to the stars was in 2014). His script seemed to follow in the footsteps of his memorable Videodrome and show that David Cronenberg was still the master of body horror. Unfortunately, despite an excellent trio of main actors Viggo Mortensen, Léa Seydoux, Kristen Stewart Crimes of the Future cruelly lacks rhythm and seems to be a rehash of films like Naked Lunch (1991) or EXistenZ (1999) but cruelly lacking ideas and budget to give birth to a successful and original film.

The film plunges us into a future in which the human species seems to adapt to a synthetic environment and the human body undergoes new transformations and mutations. From the introductory scene in which a mother kills her child whom she considers monstrous, the emphasis is placed on what normality should be in a world running to its loss and dehumanization. Saul Tenser (Viggo Mortensen) is a famous performance artist and publicly exhibits the metamorphosis of his organs in renowned and well-attended avant-garde performances. Supported by his partner Caprice (Léa Seydoux), this artist seems to be constantly searching for new sensations. But as Saul turns out to be a law enforcement informant and meets the beautiful Timlin (Kristen Stewart), a National Organ Registry investigator who obsessively tracks their movements, he finds himself facing a new danger. A mysterious group seems intent on using his fame to shed light on the next phase of human evolution.

The future through the eyes of the director and screenwriter David Cronenberg is based once again on the evolution of the human race and on the fact that man tends to want to try new bodily experiments going to mutilate his body or propose to undergo surgical operations in front of the eyes of many spectators in search of thrills. Under the eye of a director like Eli Roth, one suspects that the film would have been faster, more gory and above all less soporific. Certainly, Crimes of the Future is a minor film in the filmography of the gifted director David Cronenberg. 

Yet this film seems to be a synthesis of the director's previous films and a way for him to exorcise his own demons in the fact that creative art and the fact of being appreciated by the public and receiving good reviews is at the very center of this will to give himself body and soul in the staging of a show wanted to be popular and having lost part of its strength in order to shock nobody. By wanting to please a reduced panel of spectators, the director cuts himself even more from his public and proposes us a film missing its objective which must entertain the public and make it think. In this case, it would rather make him fall asleep and make him regret to have bought his full price cinema ticket when other films would have been a better choice.

Crimes of the Future
Written and directed by David Cronenberg
Produced by Robert Lantos
Starring Viggo Mortensen, Léa Seydoux, Kristen Stewart
Cinematography : Douglas Koch
Edited by Christopher Donaldson
Music by Howard Shore
Production companies : Argonauts Productions S.A., Serendipity Point Films, Davis Films, Telefilm Canada, Ingenious Media, Bell Media, CBC
Distributed by : Neon (United States), MK2/Mile End (Canada)
Release dates : May 23, 2022 (Cannes), May 25, 2022 (France), June 3, 2022 (United States)
Running time : 107 minutes

Seen on May 26, 2022 at Gaumont Disney Village, Room 16 seat A19

Mulder's Mark: