Tag Archives: Viggo Mortensen

My Thoughts on: Crimes of the Future (2022)

Note: this review was originally published on Patreon

From the moment I heard about Crimes of the Future, I knew this was a movie I needed to see. Consider the following if you will: this is a film by David Cronenberg (he who gave us The Fly), it stars Viggo Mortensen, Léa Seydoux and Kristen Stewart, AND it’s in the body horror genre. Put all of that together and I couldn’t possibly stay away from this movie.

And what a movie. David Cronenberg has crafted an amazing story that ultimately led me to question everything I thought I knew about what it means to be human. Although, it does take some time for that picture to become clear. Cronenberg tells the story through several threads that don’t weave together into a single picture until midway through the film. And even then, the ending of the story is still left deliberately ambiguous (though I can take a guess as to what it means, I won’t due to wanting to avoid spoilers).

Let me start at the beginning: Crimes of the Future takes place in what is implied to be the near future, in a time when most humans have ceased to feel any level of pain due to what is implied to be an ongoing evolution in humanity. As a result of no one really feeling pain anymore, increasingly elaborate plastic surgeries have become a fashion trend, and it becomes clear throughout the film that people are going to increasingly greater extremes in order to feel something, anything at all. In the middle of this bizarre and yet frighteningly understandable world is “performance artist” Saul Tenser (Mortensen), whose act consists of having the bizarre organs his body randomly generates cut out by his assistant for an audience.

Woven in with this story is the tragic and seemingly unrelated fate of another character (I’m being deliberately vague because, again, spoilers). But as the story goes on, it becomes clear that it’s all connected, and the implications about where the human species is going is mind-bending. Were I not so much in love with the film as it is, I would almost beg Cronenberg for a follow up on the concept because I want to see more of where he’s going with this.

What really interests me apart from the story itself is the setting. When I read a description of this film and it said it was in the “near future”, I envisioned a world that was slightly sleek and shiny. But instead, Crimes of the Future takes place in a world that literally appears to be falling apart. Analog technology is everywhere, there’s no smart phones that I could see, and everything is dirty and decaying. If I didn’t know better, I’d almost say this story is set in a post-apocalyptic world. The only hint that this is in fact the future is the advanced technology used to perform most of Saul’s “performances.” 

Mortensen is amazing as Saul Tenser and I love the chemistry he has with Léa Seydoux, who plays his fellow performance artist. Watching those two interact is one of my favorite parts of the film. The one thing that did disappoint me though was Kristen Stewart, in that I wanted to see more of her in the film. The way the trailer was set up, I thought we were going to see a lot more of her, though I did enjoy the performance she gave.

Despite minor issues, I thoroughly loved Crimes of the Future. It’s a film that will definitely make you think about what it means to be human and where we as a species are going in the future. Is that future good or bad? I feel like Cronenberg definitely leaves the answer to that question up to us viewers. This was the kind of the film where it’s okay to have a less-than-definite ending. 

That’s all I’ve got for Crimes of the Future (I could say more but I don’t want to spoil the entire plot).

Have a great day!

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