Cecil Selwyn’s review published on Letterboxd:
Cronenberg's classic work used external body horror to signify the internal...gradually evolving into Dead Ringers's notable shift to internal as internal...followed up by decades of outright abstraction: matters of the soul, evils unseen...violence to the body as corruptive, annihilating force (A History of Violence)...capital as internal violence (Cosmopolis)...full-on systemic violence (Map to the Stars), etc etc etc
Crimes of the Future is not so much another development in this evolution as it is a hodgepodge of various eras...drawing from past work not only in aesthetic and theme but use of the body as metaphor
The creation of inner beauty cannot be an accident.
self-repression, an old man running out of time...creating out of pain, fear...societal glamorization of pain as inherent to the process, a necessary sacrifice in service of Art
the fucking weird obsession systems of power have with the inner workings of the body...preoccupation with pain in particular, infection, i.e. weapons of oppression that have been lost to progress...Wippet's rants perfectly in line with conservative talking points, fear of the unknown, of change as inherently negative when uhhh...maybe it's just different?
policing what constitutes Art as counter to progress...accepting technology as inherent to our experience, to who we have always been...the difference between the neutrality of technological advancement and systemic force...creation, change of the self as (perhaps) a subconscious choice but undeniably inevitable
Videodrome's weaponized fear of change, specifically the use of screens to signify changes to the material self, has been inverted...screens now capture the beauty of the material, immortalize The New Flesh rather than cause it to happen...it's a profound difference and indication of Cronenberg's growth as an artist, or maybe i'm just projecting and the difference is that The New Flesh is no longer subject to corporate influence, instead it's autonomous and organic (furthering ideas from Crash)
There is a new hormone in your bloodsteam.
Saul's view of his own body, his belief that his removal of organs is purely out of necessity, that there is no beauty in it, brings to mind the contrast between authorial intent and audience reaction...that this negatively viewed act can resonate with so many, that it can provide emotional resonance to others even as Saul suffers...i think of how many works i take beauty from when it's fully possible, probable even, that none was intended...that my reaction is extracting something from nothing or even runs counter to artistic aim
i don't think i've ever seen another work so fully explore art as it relates to societal change, that it's a key component to how we view ourselves, that even confined to a commodity it can function as dangerous subversion, inspiration to the marginalized, but is just as subject to systemic perversion, to adversely affect public consciousness
Art triumphs once again.
the desire to be open...to open yourself to someone else...surgery as the new sex because without a shared pain we have to go further in pursuit of intimacy...Saul's exchanges in tandem with his developing idiosyncrasies...stimulation as an act of acceptance even when he cannot accept these evolutions himself...validation via the most blunt fucking metaphor imaginable
that shit resonates in the marrow of my bones; sexual intimacy is an act of centering above anything else, can make me feel one with my own body when i always feel apart from it, trapped in it...a mutual disgust that becomes indistinguishable from admiration, souls reaching out through imperfect mediums, gazing at another as though they are one and the same with yourself...self-love informing the performance and delivery of pleasure
You're a man who's fighting what he really is. You should let your body lead to where it wants to go.
the final act centers a handful of potent ideas: that the youth are always used as fodder in the debates of the elders, the powerful, those that refuse to yield control...a dead kid as martyr and/or tool of suppression...the literally voiceless innocent becomes a weapon in a war that predates them (what exactly the big fucking deal is never quite articulated), truisms spewed from all angles, even as one side is clearly better than the other...regardless, the damage is done: a miracle snuffed out and put on display to advance the agendas of the living
a dingy bathroom as solace or damnation...the future has always been our children, how we respond to the next generation's deviations, their inherent qualities...if we see ugliness or beauty in who they are
to lay out the through line in literal terms: those developing into consumers of plastic (first through surgery and then birth) are consuming "waste"...it's never quite stated outright, but the implication is that this would (again, taking the world of the film on its own terms) be vital to humanity's survival in a world polluted by industry, by capitalism, ravaged by climate change
it's an evolution, sought after and experienced and believed in by a select group of outsiders on the fringe of society (à la Scanners)...an evolution, at best positive and at worst neutral, suppressed by power...which we can extrapolate is because "real food" is a mass market; special interests are to blame...but i'm reaching out of pure curiosity...it doesn't really matter why power would suppress change, just that they have reason to do so and can do it
Caprice's impassioned speech delivered over the dissected corpse of a child brings to mind dozens of similar speeches by adults feigning concern for the youth to embolden a conservative, hateful agenda..."won't somebody think of the children!?" etc etc: fucking sickening performative bs that hides behind innocents killed by systemic forces to argue for the status quo at best and monstrously regressive policies at worst
returning to the literal mechanics of the world of the film, embracing evolution is purposefully intertwined with the survival of humanity...if this evolution can be metaphorically understood as a stand-in for those "born a different way," then its suppression is inseparable from our eradication; we cannot fucking survive and will be snuffed out entirely if these attitudes, these systems that kill those on the margins, aren't eradicated first
He was born that way.
what these people bring to the table, their ability to see the world as nothing but arbitrary distinctions, malleable systems that can be altered to best serve humanity as a whole, is what we need to make a better world...hell, to survive to any degree...those of us still living, regardless of age, regardless of how long we've lived in fear, have a responsibility to change, to embrace the world as it is and as it develops, to reach out with love and compassion to the next generation...embrace the tide of history or die in its wake
that final image: the euphoric high of finally accepting who you are, what your body has always told you...despite the crushing fear, everything that you've been led to believe is right and true...taking that leap of faith and finding it's not so scary at all...in fact, it's more natural, pure and good than anything you've ever experienced. that will stick with me forever.