As the human species adapts to a synthetic environment, the body undergoes new transformations and mutations. With his partner Caprice (Léa Seydoux), Saul Tenser (Viggo Mortensen), celebrity performance artist, publicly showcases the metamorphosis of his organs in avant-garde performances. Timlin (Kristen Stewart), an investigator from the National Organ Registry, obsessively tracks their movements, which is when a mysterious group is revealed… Their mission – to use Saul’s notoriety to shed light on the next phase of human evolution.
At what point do we begin to take what we consume in the sci-fi and horror sphere more seriously? From artificial intelligence and technology, space, evolution, devolution, the path we’re currently on, and also where we could end up if we don’t do better, there are plenty of cautionary tales. While some may exist simply to terrify you or wow you with new CGI and VFX technology, there are some that have taken the time to analyze humanity on a micro and macro level in order to hold up a mirror. I think it’s about time we take a look around because Idiocracy was just a comedy until it came to resemble a documentary.
“Surgery is the new sex.”
The next step of human evolution may be closer than we think. But do we fight against it or welcome it? Directed by David Cronenberg, Crimes of the Future is a poetically grotesque exploration of evolution, humanity, and sex. I came for the wonderfully disturbing body horror but stayed for the thought-provoking existential dilemma. One thing to note, despite all the rumors that you heard, while the film may be graphic, it’s not enough to make fans of horror walk out of the theater. Moreover, even with Cronenberg back in his bag, what takes place is relatively tame. I actually believe that he could’ve taken the sci-fi horror further to really drive his point home. Where I feel the film really succeeds is its depth and creative story. Its talk of synthetics and plastics in our food as well as people fusing with technology is straight from the headlines. Crimes of the Future is not only an analysis of modern society but a prediction of sorts as well as a critique. The philosophical nature of many of its quandaries matched with the macabre artistry will have you locked in intrigue while also cringing at every slice into human flesh.
What is art? What is a human? What is sex? Can they each evolve to be something different but also the same? Are we reaching a place where we are completely desensitized to the world around us? These are just a few of the many questions this film has you ponder. The gore is merely a vehicle to deliver each thought. And oddly enough, even with bodies being hacked into and modified, the story is rather tender and more sensual than you’d expect. Whether it’s the strong admiration for what art has become or the bond between individuals, there’s a lingering and palpable desire that resides in almost every scene. The film’s score and dark aesthetic give it a gothic feel that somewhat reminds me of Phantom of the Opera or the novella Carmilla. The production design, like the gore, evokes its own set of emotions. The acting is great and is what drives the story. More specifically, the non-verbal acting. The film is beautifully dreadful, Incredibly inquisitive, a tad political, and thoughtfully deviant. While I feel as if some thoughts were somewhat incomplete or the story could’ve benefited from more time, Crimes of the Future is a unique piece of art that does exactly what it set out to do—it provokes. The more I think about the film, the more I like it. It’s for sure not for everyone, but for those who take the leap, you’re in for an eyebrow-raising experience. Its rewatchability is medium-high.
Pace & Pop
The dreary ambiance of the film coupled with the provocation of profound thought makes this smoothly-paced story feel longer than it actually is. However, that very same aspect is what popped for me. Being able to lose yourself in deep thought while floating in a realm of elegant horrors is quite an interesting experience.
Characters & Chemistry
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Léa Seydoux, Kristen Stewart, Scott Speedman, Welket Bungué, Don McKellar, Yorgos Pirpassopoulos, Tanaya Beatty, Nadia Litz, Lihi Kornowski, Denise Capezza
The chemistry in this film is beautifully grim. It’s truly unlike anything that we regularly witness. And it’s not that the relationships are necessarily unusual, being that they are relationships between people, but it’s the circumstances that bind them that are. Viggo Mortensen delivers an exceedingly mysterious and ponderous performance. The curious and sensual chemistry is rounded out by Léa Seydoux. Her character challenges beauty and power dynamics and is more in charge than her counterpart realizes. While Kristen Stewart may not be in every scene, when she is, there’s an amplified sexually intellectual tension that can be felt. Her character is completely enamored by the actions and art she witnesses. Scott Speedman‘s character makes the story very interesting. He helps drive the political, philosophical, and moral aspects of the story.
Crimes of the Future releases in theaters on June 3, 2022. Stay safe and enjoy.
Runtime: 1h 47m
Director: David Cronenberg
Writer: David Cronenberg
Producer: Robert Lantos, Panos Papahadzis, Steve Solomos
Executive Producer: Joe Iacono, Aida Tannyan, Peter Touche, Christelle Conan, Tom Quinn, Jeff Deutchman, Christian Parkes, Thorsten Schumacher
Composer: Howard Shore
Crimes of the Future is a poetically grotesque exploration of evolution, humanity, and sex.
Senior Critic. Observing the human race since 1988.