FILM REVIEW: Crimes of the Future (2022): The evolution of humanity is fascinating


Back to the roots of it all as only Cronenberg knows how to do.

The latest outing from David Cronenberg marks his return to what his fans know best, sci-fi and body horror. Starring Viggo Mortensen, Léa Seydoux, Kristen Stewart and Don McKellar appear in this tour de force on a lower budget that seemed to manifest itself out of nowhere. I was surprised to see this pop up and I'm glad to have watched it.

Apparently Mr. Cronenberg directed a film with the same title in 1970 that I wasn't aware of. This newer iteration only maintains a similarity in name only. Time to do some digging and source this one!

The world that is presented in this film is bleak. Lots of sepia tones along with no discernible outlook of the place it's situated in. There are lots of rooms but rarely do we see the outside world. Climate change has taken its toll and the world is not that of current day.

Don McKellar shows up once again as he usually does while adding much to the film as always. The subdued color tones are on display especially in this scene.

We start off with a young boy that appears normal on the surface. The mother seems apprehensive for some reason or another and we're not sure why. We soon understand her dilemma after the child finishes brushing his teeth. He nonchalantly sits under the sink and begins to eat the plastic waste paper basket. Something is horribly out of place here and the mother knows it. Unable to deal with the situation she smothers him in his sleep.

Something is not right here.

The only response by his mother? There's a lot to digest here and we have barely started the film.

The aftermath.
Very powerful stuff.

What an opener!

Cut to Saul Tenser and Caprice, two performance artists known for their unforgettable shows. Their act consists of Caprice removing organs from Saul. These organs are not anything you've ever seen before. They're something brand new that the human race has never seen before.

We're in the not too distant future where we have seen many advancements in medicine and the human body. Pain and disease are a rare thing in these times. Is this a utopia or the next evolution of the human species? This film doesn't answer and rather presents possible outcomes to that interesting question.

Saul Tenser aka Viggo Mortensen preparing for his performance.

No pain has been established early on. Now we have people performing surgery as a daily occurrence for anyone to witness, often right out on the street for all to see. The statement used often throughout the film is the following: "Surgery is the new sex". They mean this literally as the idea of sex is the old way, people are evolving.

Along this track of evolution we meet members from a government organization attempting to catalog this new form of evolution. The two members here are doing their job while at the same time are fascinated with this entire emerging scene. The scene is actually human evolution that they witness before their own eyes.

The techs doing what they do best; maintain everything. Even in the future the mundane tasks must be done by someone.

The film twists and turns as not everyone is what they seem in more ways than one. The human form is changing along with all alliances of the past. The status quo is upended in the most literal of senses in this continually shifting landscape.

This is one of the many messages peppered throughout the film. The human form and its resilience along with its evolution is front and center in Cronenberg's vision.

The landscape of the film is generally unknown. We know we're in the future and there has been a monumental shift in human evolution. These new vestigial organs are being grown by a good portion of society. Their purpose are unknown at this point although it's hinted at larger things in the future. Can these organs potentially integrate with other organic systems and potentially create something new? This never directly comes to fruition; we know it might.

While not spoiling what the new evolution might be, the next potential evolution are beings that can live off of the world they are now living in. Byproducts of hundreds of years could now be their sustenance while the lowly unevolved human race is left behind.

The next form of human evolution or simply body modification taken to the extreme? The mouth and eyes sewn shut with the numerous ears is hard to miss along with the statement.

Big ideas are presented here in the sci-fi realm for those that enjoy it. What is it to be human? Where are we headed? Where is the planet headed? The viewer will be left asking questions of possible outcomes of the future.

I am so very pleased to see David Cronenberg mine this area again. He always has a very unique take on humanity and its evolution. For those that are familiar with some of his work you'll no doubt be thinking of Existenz (1999), another film that dealt with similar themes. The fusion of bio-technology is strong in this film as with the later.

This film didn't have a great distribution and it shows by the box office receipts. The movie is cut unlike most standard films in his filmography. I would consider this a more art house take within the confines of most of his output over the last few decades. There's nothing wrong with that for me although I figure most may label this with the dreading "boooooooooooring" tag.

I sympathize. Distribution was not great and many seem to misunderstand this film for some reason.

Clocking in at 107 minutes this was anything but slow for me. I was riveted with great performances as usual by Viggo Mortensen. Cronenberg and Viggo work well together. Mortensen's performance always shines in each film he's in.

Cronenberg is back to his old stomping grounds once again and I'm thoroughly elated. I honestly wasn't expecting to see something like this again from him. A more cerebral take on what it is to be human and where we can potentially go from there. Certainly worth a watch while sprinkling interesting ideas throughout.

Thanks for the read 🙂

All media captured by myself from the original source.

My favorite quote from the film: You have no idea how hard it's been for me to find plastic surgeons who understand that I do not wish to be made more beautiful.


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