Crimes of the Future

Front Row at the Movies by Shirrel Rhoades

5/5 (1)

Director David Cronenberg is known for his horror and science-fiction films, although he hasn’t made one since 1999 (“eXistenZ”).

Until now.

Here is “Crimes of the Future.” Don’t think that you’ve seen it before, just because the eccentric filmmaker has used this title before, for a 1970 “body horror film.” Although somewhat similar in tone, this new movie is technically not a remake.

That first film told of the head of a dermatological clinic searching for an insane colleague.

In this new outing, we meet Saul Tenser and Caprice (played by Viggo Mortensen and Léa Seydoux), two performers who live in ravaged future where evolution has run amok. Their stage act consists of Caprice slicing Saul open on an operating table and removing new organs that he grows on the spot – a medical oddity.

You see, humankind is faced with “Accelerated Evolution Syndrome,” a mutation process that is changing people.

Saul and Caprice come under scrutiny by Wippet and his timid assistant (Dan McKellar and Kristen Stewart), two bureaucrats with the National Organ Registry. And another organization, a cult made up of people who have already undergone their evolutionary changes, get involved.

Sound weird? Remember this was written and directed by Cronenberg, the mad genius who gave us “Scanners” where heads explode like watermelons, “The Brood” about disturbed freakish children in an attic, and “Dead Ringers” featuring twin gynecologists who use grotesque tools to operate on so-called mutant women.

He made “Rabid,” starring porn star Marilyn Chambers, “Fast Company” with Playboy Playmate Claudia Jennings, and “Videodrome” with singer Debbie Harry.

He also gave us such mainstream movies as Steven King’s “The Dead Zone,” “The Fly” with Jeff Goldblum, and “M. Butterfly” (no, not the opera).

And he delivered some of my favorite films starring Viggo Mortensen – “A History of Violence,” “Eastern Promises,” and “A Dangerous Method.”

Before making ”Crimes of the Future,” Cronenberg had considered retiring because he found it so difficult to finance his kind of films – sometimes described as “strange film noirs.”

You may share the assessment of The Hollywood Reporter. It praised the performances of Mortensen and Seydoux but concluded that the film “offers up more mysteries than it solves.”

The gory organ harvesting scenes caused some people to walk out of its premiere at Cannes. You should proceed with caution. Cronenberg films can be an acquired taste.

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