6.5/10 After an eight year break following 2014’s underrated “Maps to the Stars”, writer/director/body horror master David Cronenberg returns for what was my 10th most anticipated film of 2022. While not quite as impressive as I had hoped, “Crimes of the Future” (which shares its title with an early Cronenberg film from 1970) certainly accomplishes a lot and has some unique ideas and themes that only Cronenberg could come up with. Set in a grim future where the human body has adapted to a more synthetic environment and can no longer feel most forms of physical pain, people are able to create/make/grow new organs and even digest plastic in a world short on natural food but full of pollution. Even from the synopsis you can tell that Cronenberg is talking about the environment, evolution, the human body, sex, art, etc. As humanity does consume more and more while landfills fill up decades before their predicted saturation dates and the world has become overpopulated, a lot of the themes here ring true. The biggest problem however is that a lot of what has been said in the film was what Cronenberg was saying ahead of his time back in the 70s through the 90s. If this film would have been made 40 years ago, Cronenberg would have been seen as a visionary ahead of his time (which he still was due to his other directorial works) but when he presents those same ideas here, they feel less out there and more inevitable. The dark humor regarding things like internal beauty pageants may have some interesting ideas to them (judging a body based off of the insides as opposed to the outsides) but I don’t think the humorous aspects were as funny as Cronenberg thinks they were. Some of the subplots are rather underdeveloped and leave the audience asking questions and needing more information. Flaws aside, Cronenberg remains consistent on several aspects where he has excelled in film making throughout his career. The cast is great as Cronenberg reunites with Viggo Mortensen (their fourth team up) as Léa Seydoux (who gives the film’s best performance) and Kristen Stewart (who purposely plays her performance in an odd but memorable way) are the newcomers to Cronenberg’s lineup. The production design is great with the machines used for eating and sleeping being both futuristic and alien in their simplistic appearance. The visuals are memorable and realistic looking while regular Cronenberg collaborator and composer Howard Shore provides some of his best work in years. The pacing moves along well as you become fascinated by this ulterior future and the different sides people take in it. While the film is well made and a welcome return for one of the greatest horror directors of all time, “Crimes of the Future” is far less revolutionary or bold than it would have been decades ago in a Hollywood landscape full of science fiction films where body and machine become closer together as humans and technology evolve. Still worth seeing for Cronenberg fans who aren’t afraid of some grisly images but if you aren’t into bleak body horror, you might have to look elsewhere.

#SaulAsleep / #HowardShoreOnTheOrgans / #PlasticMeasuresMustBeTaken / #NoTimeToDigest / #TheFrenchDetach / #PersonalChopper

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