Spoilers lost their appetite for a few days.
I would strongly encourage you check the trailer for this one before watching the movie. Now, that being said, if you are at all familiar with David Cronenberg’s body of work, you might know what you’re getting into and can watch this one with no preamble. For all other people, this take on body horror will be challenging on both visual and implied actions. That being said, the level of world building is impressive enough to consider this one a work of science fiction despite the gore.
Crimes of the Future (2022) was written and directed by David Cronenberg. Saul Tenser (Viggo Mortensen) and his partner Caprice (Léa Seydoux) are performance artists. Saul can create new, never-before-seen organs inside his flesh, while Caprice performs surgery on him. Body modifications have become an art, and surgery is aided by biotechnology of an impossible level. They’re both approached by the National Organ Registry, a small department created to try to regulate the creations of new organs run by two quirky employees, Wippet (Don McKellar) and the nervous Timlin (Kristen Stewart). It’s Timlin that becomes obsessively intrigued by Saul, she’s the one that comes up with the line, “surgery is the new sex”, which is what the movie embodies.
I can’t help by consider this feature the next spiritual evolution of Cronenberg’s ExistenZ (1999) in what visuals are concerned. The concept is much more complex. Evolution and art seems to be breaking the natural rules of the world, but the movie does poses the possibility that humankind and nature itself could involve synthetic products (and byproducts) of industry as nutrition. A radical evolutionist movement believes the future will make humanity capable of digesting industrial waste, not with surgery but already at birth.
The concepts are outlandish enough that the body horror can literally take a backseat at the implications of human nature fusing with contamination. The visuals are enough to make you wince and become squeamish at the surgery scenes but the idea of a future so hideous felt even more challenging to assimilate than the special effects. The ending is a bit ambiguous and subdued. If you are expecting some particularly brilliant resolution and/or confrontation between the different forces involved, there is none. You are left to wonder what will be, and I’m still on the fence on whether it was best to stop or give us a hint of what lied ahead.
Only highly recommended for mature audiences with a strong stomach and an open mind. Audiences just looking for gore and shock horror will be disappointed. Yes, it could make you squeamish but it’s real challenge is the level of fictionalized bioengineering and evolution theory that goes into a very controversial territory. Evolution integrating industrial waste and plastic becoming part of our nature was a lot more revolting than any image of body horror that the movie could throw at us. Worth a watch if you’ve got the constitution for it, and even a few more to digest additional concepts of it.
That will do for now.