In his latest film Crimes of the Future, director David Cronenberg explores the character evolution of Viggo Mortensen’s character Saul Tenser. For a film whose trailer famously featured the words “surgery is the new sex,” Crimes of the Future is unquestionably getting its due, notably for its characteristically Cronenbergian gore portrayals. The Canadian filmmaker has never shied away from gore, directing some of the most well-known gruesome films, like The Fly and Scanners. However, this latest offering appears to be provoking much more controversy than usual.
Crimes of the Future, starring Mortensen, Léa Seydoux, and Kristen Stewart, is based on a project Cronenberg started working on in 2003. However, it was quickly shelved and not revived until 2021. With Mortensen and Seydoux appearing as surgical performance artists who grow organs inside Tenser’s body, the film returns to the basic body horror that made Cronenberg famous, resulting in a new form of human development. If it doesn’t convince you that it’ll be a bloodbath, Cronenberg’s prediction that Cannes audiences will leave after five minutes will.
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Cronenberg, on the other hand, isn’t just interested in gore. Tenser’s objective, he says in an interview with Deadline, is “evaluating the human condition,” which he sees as the unavoidable topic of any art. Tenser is particularly interested in “his own human state” and the “potential for creation that his body appears to be expressing,” according to Cronenberg. The following is the complete quote:
This is typical of a director whose work has always looked for deeper meanings than the subject matter appears to offer. While A History of Violence and Eastern Promises, both starring Mortensen, included different theological components as well as dissections of the nature of violence, Scanners serves as a heartbreaking investigation of counterculture’s impact on society. Cronenberg sees Tenser’s story arc as an investigation of the human condition, and his argument about inverting the artistic expression process by turning it in on his own body is a characteristically profound approach for the filmmaker.
As a result, it appears that Crimes of the Future will satisfy both body horror enthusiasts and those wanting a more cerebral film, albeit anyone seeing it will undoubtedly require a strong stomach. Even while the teaser only revealed a small portion of what’s to come, it was packed with gory imagery, including cuts, excisions, and even a man with his eyes stitched shut and ears growing out of his forehead. Furthermore, Cronenberg has stated that walkouts will not be limited to the first five minutes, but that the last 20 minutes will be equally difficult.