After eight years, Cronenberg is finally back with the simple premise: what if humans could no longer feel pain? And, for the most part, he’s able to expand on this idea to create one of his most interesting features, and a very welcome return to cinema. It’s certainly a movie to avoid if you want something flat-out scary, but if you’re looking for something more idea-driven, this could be a great watch.Normally, Cronenberg films can be divided into two distinct types: the spectacle-driven horror movies (Videodrome, Naked Lunch) and the ideological social dramas (A History of Violence, Eastern Promises). For a while they just existed as two very different phases of his career, miles apart in both tone and theme. But with Maps to the Stars, his previous film, Cronenberg created a bold and memorable mix of them: one moment is a disturbing encounter with a ghost, the next is social commentary on Hollywood celebrities.This trend continues in Crimes of the Future to an even more extreme degree, with disgusting body mutilations and musings on the nature of evolution existing side-by-side. It’s one of his most intellectual features, deftly exploring the fascinating world he has created and letting the audience mull over its implications.The clinical direction and cinematography can understandably be off-putting to some people. But it helps create a sterile, almost casual atmosphere, one that does a good job of conveying the future’s lack of emotional attachment to the human body. It’s no longer a remarkable work of nature, but merely a blank slate that’s to be molded however you wish.A movie like this can really fall apart if the acting’s not up to par, but luckily the cast is uniformly great. They’re all more than capable of selling this idea of a post-pain world in which humans rip out and mangle their own organs in front of entranced onlookers. Kristen Stewart has the most difficult job of everyone (for reasons that are too intriguing to spoil), and she absolutely nails it. She’s awkward, funny, and disturbing in equal proportions. Although it is disappointing that she’s somewhat underused in the movie, what little screen time she has is very effective.Is Crimes of the Future a perfect movie? Definitely not. It’s overly indulgent at points, some of the supporting characters don’t have a lot to do, and its message about humanity and technology doesn’t have the resonance it should. But ultimately, the film accomplishes nearly everything it strives for: it’s gross, psychologically stimulating, restrained in all the right ways, and a thoroughly satisfying film overall. I’m thrilled to see what Cronenberg does next.Final Score: 77/100.
Stars : Viggo Mortensen, Léa Seydoux, Kristen Stewart, Viggo Mortensen, Léa Seydoux, Kristen Stewart
Genre : Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi