Crimes of the Future
“Surgery is the new sex” and “body is reality” are two of the projections imparted on audiences of cult director David Cronenberg’s highly anticipated science fiction body-horror.
The feature opens with a jarring scene of a mother suffocating her eight-year-old son for eating a plastic wastepaper bin. What appears, at first glance, to be a case of Pica syndrome is soon revealed as an evolved species of human, capable of digesting plastic. Further biomorphology among people of the future includes the absence of pain during waking hours and an idiopathic production of additional organs inside the human body, their functions unknown. The combination results in gory performance art pieces, in which Caprice (Léa Seydoux) removes Saul’s (Viggo Mortensen) internal growths in front of a live audience.
With no shortage of grotesque elements and a loose-fitting plot, Crimes of the Future lends itself to a number of interpretations. Does Accelerated Evolution Syndrome relate to the impending doom of climate change? Is the fetishisation of evisceration about the exhibitionist nature of art, or is it a critique on body modification and plastic surgery?
Whether intentional or not, there is a particular artificiality that prevails throughout. Its limited number of sets evokes a sense of resetting a theatre’s stage, as the protagonists return from one to the other. There are no extras to fill the background, no perceivable exteriors to give a more holistic sense of this prospective world.
Mortensen and Seydoux seamlessly fit into Cronenberg’s dystopian vision and their bizarre artist couple brings back the morbid eroticism of Crash. Kristen Stewart’s addition to the cast is less of an inevitability, but her appearance in the film assumes the form of comic relief. She plays a mousy young woman employed by the National Organ Registry, who still attempts to engage in the outdated practice of sexual intercourse. Crimes of the Future marks Berlin Alexanderplatz star Welket Bungué’s Hollywood debut, in which he effortlessly proves he is a striking presence in every language.
The film’s premiere at Cannes saw both a number of audience members walk out of the screening room as well as a standing ovation, lasting several minutes, for the present cast and crew. This highly divisive reaction will undoubtedly continue as the film hits cinemas, but the fact that it manages to elicit such a visceral response is its driving force.
Crimes of the Future does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews from our Cannes Film Festival 2022 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Cannes Film Festival website here.
Watch a clip from Crimes of the Future here: