Crimes of the Future-2022
Starring Viggo Mortensen, Léa Seydoux
Scott’s Review #1,295
Reviewed September 2, 2022
Being somewhat familiar with the work of director David Cronenberg and the macabre and squirmy elements he adds to his films, I had a fair idea of what type of experience I was in for. There was anticipation as I slipped the blu ray of Crimes of the Future (2022) into the player.
He’s responsible for such peculiar pleasures as Eastern Promises (2007), an annual Christmas time watch for my husband and me, and A History of Violence (2005) a gangster-flavored effort. Cronenberg frequently teeters around psychological horror and science fiction though has dabbled in other genres.
Stalwart actor Viggo Mortensen once again graces the screen in one of Cronenberg’s films and leads the charge as the main protagonist in Crimes of the Future.
Visually the film is astounding with creepy shapes and visceral red images floating about mainly in the opening credits. It’s riddled with a subdued and mellow mood taking its time to get going and allowing for somber tones and textures.
It’s a tough and weird watch but somehow slowly lures the viewer into its confusing web.
Be warned though that the story is inexplicable and impossible to figure out. I even read a post-film synopsis and was still unclear how the puzzle pieces are supposed to come together. But maybe they aren’t.
Crimes of the Future is the type of film that is recommended to be digested and left to ruminate in one’s inner being. The translation is to not overthink the events but rather to enjoy what is being served.
Sometime soon, the human species has adapted to a new synthetic environment, causing bodies to undergo new transformations and mutations. With his partner, Caprice (Léa Seydoux), Saul Tenser (Mortensen), a celebrity performance artist, publicly showcases the metamorphosis of his organs in avant-garde performances.
In simpler terms, his body is cut into for all to see.
An odd character named Timlin (Kristen Stewart), an investigator from the National Organ Registry, obsessively tracks their movements. A mysterious group exists with a mission to use Saul’s notoriety to shed light on the next phase of human evolution.
The summary is tough to write and even tougher to explain so I won’t waste space even going there. I’ll leave it to say that the above is the best that can be explained and only that there is a fascinating story element to the events.
Something about science fiction and the future typically equates to mystique and wonderment.
I could watch Mortensen in pretty much any film which is the main reason to see Crimes of the Future. The actor is so keen on choosing just the right roles for him and each is so different from the last.
Merely comparing his recent films like Captain Fantastic (2016), Green Book (2018), and Crimes of the Future results in the actor continuing to challenge himself with the depth of each character instead of capitalizing on name recognition to cash a hefty paycheck like other similar aged Hollywood actors.
I won’t name names but Liam Neeson could take a note or two from Mortensen.
Seydoux, a French actress pairs well with Mortensen. She possesses a sophisticated European vibe that translates well within this distant future. She is sexy and because of the subject matter, this is key to the visual style the film has.
I’m not quite sure what to make of Kristen Stewart as the nutty and nerdy Timlin but it’s a shocking follow-up to a fabulous portrayal of Princess Diana. As she speaks rapidly with timidity it’s a particular role but nice to see Stewart continue to go with edgy roles.
Because it’s Cronenberg, Crimes of the Future (2022) is cerebral and provocative with a fleshy and grim style. I’d expect nothing less from the director but would have preferred a more cohesive package.
In the end, I simply couldn’t figure the film out so it’s tough to completely recommend it.