Review: Crimes of the Future
Blu-ray: Crimes of the Future (2022)
The only other person I know who’s seen Crimes of the Future, hated it. It “just wasn’t like old Cronenberg”. I disagree, this is quintessential body-horror Cronenberg, that apart from it’s a hi-def film, could whisk you right back to ExisTenz or Dead Ringers.
Where to start with the narrative though? Its typical bonkers narrative that makes PERFECT sense.
Beginning with a child eating a plastic waste bin in the bathroom of his home in what may be Greece (it was filmed there) and his mother suffocating him on the bed, we see Saul Tenser (Viggo Mortensen) and Caprice (Lea Seydoux) in their shared home. Saul is asleep in a bed that looks like it’s made of a massive turtle shell, or even, the gun from ExisTenz. He’s in pain, the bed moves. We are in a time of no pain, and no infection – that’s established early on, and Saul and Caprice (who is an ex-surgeon) are now performance artists.
Human physiology has changed, where because we feel no pain, operations can be done literally anywhere. Humans rely on machines for everything, from sleeping to eating, where we sit in bone-like chairs that move us up and down for optimum digestion. Also some humans are growing ‘new’ organs, like Saul, who allows Caprice to remove them in front of an audience, because they are performance artists. Throw into the mix some government agents looking for bio terrorists, a cover-up of human evolution, murder, oral sex with a zippered belly (which may have been opened for organs to be… sucked?) and Kristen Stewart being twitchy, and there you have the most Cronenberg film ever.
I found this particularly interesting and I’m an artist and move on the outskirts of ‘real’ performance art and artists. People who gurn as they sweep paint along huge and hugely expensive canvasses to music that mostly sounds like a million people crying in unison ‘where’s the ART’? So I got this film in spades. Not just from its obvious commentary on the way we have, do and will continue to treat our planet, but from the ‘art’ view too. WHAT is Art these days? It’s not painting a picture, and with the rise of ‘artists’ (though in truth they are literally art factories run by lackies) like Damien Hirst who show half a cow, half a shark, half a zebra and if he had the chance to pay someone to perform surgery live and take all the credit, he would. Cronenberg applauds while at the same time, questions it.
This runs through the whole narrative, and seeing all the beautiful people being cut up just made me think, boy has he hit the nail on the head for the future of humans (full of plastic) and art (full of shite).
It’s also a beautiful film to see, dusky and heat addled (filmed in 40+ degree heat in Greece), shadowy and vibrant. I really enjoyed it, and to be honest, despite having just watched it, could watch it again right now.
Interestingly, Cronenberg’s first choice for Saul was… Nic Cage. Now that would have been a much different film and I am glad he went with Viggo for the part of Saul, as he gives a considered, and dare I say…believable performance as the extra organed artist.
Another winner from Second Sight Films– who in my opinion now have the crown for best film release company on account or their really amazing packages. The boxes look amazing (we never get the actual item that’s sold, just plain discs, but the photos look wonderful), and the extras and film quality are fantastic.
Absolutely essential purchase for any David Cronenberg fan. Beautiful.
- Dual format edition including both UHD and Blu-ray with main feature and bonus features on both discs
- UHD presented in Dolby Vision HDR
- New audio commentary by Caelum Vatnsdal
- Undeniably a Love Story: an interview with Director David Cronenberg
- Things Change: an interview with Actor Viggo Mortensen
- The Chaos Inside: an interview with Actor Léa Seydoux
- The Heat and the Grime: an interview with Actor Kristen Stewart
- The Bureau Man: a new interview with Actor Don McKellar
- Painkiller: a new interview with Producer Robert Lantos
- The Most Wonderful Dream: a new interview with Cinematographer Douglas Koch
- The Code of David: a new interview with Editor Christopher Donaldson
- New Flesh, Future Crimes: The Body and David Cronenberg – a video essay by Leigh Singer
- The Making of Crimes of the Future
- Production Design Materials
- Short film: The Death of David Cronenberg
Limited Edition Contents
- Rigid slipcase with new artwork by Marko Manev
- 120 page book with new essays by Reyna Cervantes, Tim Coleman, Joel Harley, Rich Johnson, Mikel J Koven, Phil Nobile Jr, Ian Schultz and Hannah Strong
- 6 collectors’ art cards
Review by Tina from a disc kindly supplied by Second Sight Films via Aim Publicity.