Versatile drector David Cronenberg returns to his body horror roots after two decades with Crimes of the Future alongside longtime collaborator Viggo Mortensen. Crimes of the Future is certainly a gross movie filled with discomfort and bizarre sexual analogies. However, outside the shock value the film lacks an interesting core to keep one’s mind from drifting away.
It’s a future where pain tolerance and infection rates are null and void, allowing protagonist Saul (Viggo Mortensen) to make surgery a public performance as his assistant and lover (Lea Seydoux) removes the vestigial organs his body produces.
Kirsten Stewart’s antsy, horny character states that “surgery is the new sex,” and you’ll get plenty of parallels as we watch person after person get all squirmy while being cut open. The problem with the film is that there isn’t anything beyond the shock value, there’s no substance here.
The commentary about body experimentation as a form of sensuality feels trite and more an opening for weird moments, like when Saul gets a zipper installed across his pelvis.
The movie begins, literally, with a child being suffocated by his mother, so that sets the tone for Cronenberg’s edgy experimental film. Crimes of the Future is essentially a one trick pony with zero accessibility to a wider audience, leaving one to wonder what the distributor saw in this misfire of a project.