April 14, 2024

CRIMES OF THE FUTURE (2022) – Not the Cronenberg fare I had expected


Rating: ⭐ 1/2

Crimes of the Future is heralded as the return of director David Cronenberg to science fiction horror, which he is so famously and fondly remembered for. It had its premiere in the recent Cannes Film Festival in May and was nominated for the prestigious Palme d’Or. It apparently received a six minutes standing ovation at the end of its Cannes screening and have received generally favourable reviews. I myself, have been a fan of Cronenberg’s early work which include The Fly (1986), Dead Ringers (1988), The Dead Zone (1988), Videodrome (1983) and of course the infamous Scanners (1981). His films were always imaginative, origin, and often laden with gross violence! So it was with great anticipation when I watched Crimes of the Future which had the look and feel of a typical Cronenberg offering. It also had a stellar cast that included Viggo Mortenssen, Lea Seydoux (James Bond’s girlfriend in No Time to Die) and Kristen Stewart.

Alas, I was grossly disappointed with this. It is set in a future where humans seem to have “evolved” into not being able to feel pain and with some having the ability to will themselves to mutate and create new organs within their bodies. We see Viggo and Leo as a pair who uses this ability to craft into some sort of sick side shows to a public could somehow appreciate the spectacle of the watching the mutation being displayed through an openly performed operation. The entire universe that Cronenberg has created here is bizarre from the drabby dark atmosphere, to the out of this world costumes and equipment, the way the people behave and speak. You will truly feel like you have somehow dropped into another world with little relevant link to the world we are accustomed to. Here is where I struggle with the most. I just find myself unable to relate or even comprehend most of what is going on. I am not clear what motivates the various characters to do or behave the way they are throughout the movie. This to me, serves as a huge handicap for anyone trying to understand the whole thing rendering the whole experience of watching this feel like a mind f*** and waste of time.

I could see that the actors did their best here given the totally weird things they have to do and say. But ultimately their performance is wasted on an audience that will only end up being confused. I am honestly not sure what the critics who find this film good saw. What I could appreciate is the total disregard to cater for commercialism by Cronenberg, and for him to have such an absolutely bizarre and original vision of a nightmarish future that nobody can dream of. Is this what art is about?

I wanted to like this so much but I have to be honest. This was not good for me. In comparison, what Cronenberg’s son Brandon Cronenberg, did in his directorial effort for Possessor in 2020, was far more satisfying and more Cronenberg than this.

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