Crimes Of The Future

***

Reviewed by: Richard Mowe

Crimes Of The Future
"Cronenberg, a seemingly gentle soul on the surface, remains tortured by the possibilities of technology and how it may tear us apart." | Photo: Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

If there is one constant in the Cannes Film Festival firmament it is the ability of Canadian agent provocateur David Cronenberg to provide shock, awe and division. His latest is no exception and will rival the brouhaha around Crash.

Shot in Greece with many of the elements of a Greek tragedy right from the start when a mother smothers her plastic-eating child to death, Cronenberg empties his head of images of a nightmare future world of as he sees it mixed with his cerebral thoughts on the state of the planet.

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In his world pain has disappeared and thanks to the grandly named “Accelerated Evolution Syndrome”, the human race is mutating with what is described as “desktop surgery” becoming the new sex.

Saul (Viggo Mortensen, a Cronenberg regular) and his partner Caprice (Léa Seydoux) are performance artists although the “performance” is unlike anything you have ever seen. In one scene Saul lies spread out an operating table as Caprice slices him apart with pincers to extract a new organ that he has harvested.

So far so yucky but as you might expect from Cronenberg there remains much more of the same to come as we infiltrate the National Organ Registry masterminded by Wippet (Don McKellar) and Kristen Stewart as his nervy assistant who are fascinated by Caprice’s attempts at surgery.

Cronenberg’s world may seem to be so far into the future as to be irrelevant to our current concerns but with organ transplant expertise in the ascendancy and such items as the OrchiBed designed to adjust to the body’s every need (memory foam mattress anyone?) it is not outwith the bounds of possibility.

The boy who died at the opening of the film returns as a corpse to be given to Saul and Caprice as part of their performance art, this time at the behest of his father (Scott Speedman) who wants them to do an autopsy.

Cronenberg, a seemingly gentle soul on the surface, remains tortured by the possibilities of technology and how it may tear us apart. Crimes OF The Future, which is set to an arresting score by Howard Shore, was never going to be an easy watch and there are those may not make it beyond some of the more graphic set pieces.

What is guaranteed is that audiences will emerge shaken, stirred and profoundly unsettled. Cronenberg is one of the few filmmakers who can achieve that with such consistency.

Reviewed on: 24 May 2022
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In a near-future human evolution has accelerated, a situation embraced by a performance artist.


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