This was not a movie that would typically appeal to me, but I have often recommended that people expose themselves to the content they may not like. I’m squeamish; things that squirm or slither aren’t at the top of my list to pursue. I saw William Friedkin’s The Exorcist exactly one time, and I have never revisited it and will not for the foreseeable future. So, when our friend, Robert Meyer Burnett, discussed the contents of David Cronenberg’s latest effort, Crimes of the Future, which Cronenberg wrote and directed, my initial reaction was it was a film I could do without.
However, this being a weekend where no new film content was premiering in wide release, I decided to practice what I preached and sought out a theatre where this limited release was playing. So, I took a bus and a train to Lynbrook, New York, where I visited the Regal Lynbrook 13 and awaited the film with mild trepidation.
The fact is that while the film’s content is unusual, it is not so gross as to cause a curious filmgoer to run screaming from the theatre.
The film begins with a bucolic seaside scene where a young boy digs in the sand or dirt by the shore. His mother calls down from a nearby house, warning the boy not to eat anything he finds in his excavations. What seems like a standard motherly admonition and what happens afterward are central to what is happening in the film.
Later, we meet Saul Tenser, a man who suffers from Accelerated Evolution Syndrome, which causes him to grow new biological organs that his partner Caprice tattoos while the parts are still inside his body. They then perform what is called desktop surgery to remove these organs before a live audience. Saul and Caprice are being investigated by several people, including two from the National Organ Registry and a police officer curious about Tenser, and another group of people experiencing accelerated evolution in a different way.
It’s all somewhat benign, if not outright strange, but there’s unexpected violence around the next corner; so, you might want to watch your step.
As mentioned earlier, Cronenberg wrote and directed this piece; Howard Shore provides the mood music, and the actors give good, albeit strange, performances.
The more I think about it, the more I think the film would make a good companion piece to Richard Fleischer’s 1973 film Soylent Green, but you should not take that suggestion as an indication of the content of this film.
Strange as it may seem, I’m talking myself into seeing the film a second time, although I haven’t a clue when and if I’ll do that.
Rated R by the MPAA for strong disturbing violent content and grisly images, graphic nudity, and some language, Crimes of the Future is a provocative window into one dystopian future that is possibly not as far off as one might think. Put your thinking caps on and enjoy this film… if you can.
Meanwhile, I will have a purple candy bar and think about putting cashews in my forehead.