“Crimes of the Future”
David Cronenberg indulges in the lust of the flesh
David Cronenberg is back and with him a kind of best of his previous films entitled “Crimes of the Future”.
David Cronenberg (79) and his fascination with the human body – for decades “Mister Bodyhorror” has indulged in meat fetishism in his films. This is also the case in his latest work “Crimes of the Future” with Viggo Mortensen (64), Léa Seydoux (37) and Kristen Stewart (32), which opens in cinemas on November 10th. Despite interesting food for thought, however, one cannot shake the feeling of having seen what is shown several times and better.
Organ removal as “live unboxing” – that’s what it’s all about
In the apparently not too distant future, human existence has changed radically. The “Accelerated Evolution Syndrome” ensures that the sensation of pain has largely died out. In addition, individuals develop a wide variety of deviations from the norm: a small boy, for example, feeds exclusively on plastic and is therefore viewed as a monster by his mother. The body of a man named Saul Tenser (Mortensen) is constantly developing new organs, which are cut out of him at regular intervals – but not just in any way.
Together with his assistant Caprice (Seydoux) he turns the operations into a show – almost an “unboxing” of the new organ as an avant-garde live performance. During one of these events, Saul is noticed by a member of a secret movement who want to use his notoriety for their own purposes. The government, which is already critical of the rapid evolution of mankind, doesn’t like that at all.
“Surgery is the new sex”
Supply will continue to mercilessly determine demand in the future. What you lack, you crave. Even if, like in “Crimes of the Future”, it’s the lost sense of pain. And so high society literally cuts itself in the hope of at least feeling something. “Surgery is the new sex,” whispers young Timlin (Stewart) performance artist Saul lasciviously, who particularly liked her. Apparently, the upper class no longer practice the usual intercourse, the scalpel is responsible for the orgasm.
In “Crimes of the Future” Cronenberg’s set pieces can be found in almost every one of his films. In “Crash” (1996) it was still car accidents that knew how to stimulate the libido of the main characters. In “Videodrome” (1983) it was TV torture videos that satisfied the (sensational) horniness. Now it’s surgeries.
The subject of body modification is a good thing for the icon of body horror. Whether it’s “Die Fliege” (1986), “The Brood” (1979) or “Shivers” (1975) – Cronenberg likes to let it proliferate in and/or on the body of his protagonists, including in his latest prank. Meanwhile, the organic pieces of furniture and surgical tools in Saul Tenser’s house appear as if the set designer cobbled them together from leftovers from Cronenberg’s “eXistenZ” (1999).
Even the absurd proportions of a future bureaucracy, embodied by the National Organ Registry investigator (Stewart) in “Crimes of the Future,” feel familiar. For once not thanks to Cronenberg, but Terry Gilliams (81) “Brazil” (1985). In short: you’ve already seen everything in one way or another, even from family competition ten years ago.
Son Brandon Cronenberg (42) proved in 2012 with his film “Antiviral” that the apple does not fall far from the tree in terms of staging. In his social criticism, the familiar celebrity cult degenerates to such an extent that fans have their role models injected with diseases and plaster artificial meat made from the cells of the celebrities. The son had a similarly morbid but more sophisticated trick than his old man had at hand.
With “Crimes of the Future” David Cronenberg asks numerous exciting questions, but articulates his answers. The strip looks like a melange of various works by the director and other filmmakers, with which – similar to the new organs of the main character Saul Tenser – you don’t really know what to do with them. In addition, there are quite old-fashioned computer effects. Even die-hard Cronenberg fans should find his latest body cult too bloodless.