Crimes of the Future

Crimes of the Future ★★★★½

Cronenberg, carving out his story with painterly visuals, crafts a neo-noir science fiction film whose central mystery and investigation is the profound abjection, ambivalence, and totalizing reality of the body. This just so happens to dovetail perfectly with some of my academic interests in horror, so I’m much more tolerant of its digressions than some audiences might be. To call it “Microplastics: The Movie” is at once painfully reductive and perfectly accurate because its entire project is to explore and take to the extreme the bodily changes (caused by corporations who then immediately monetize keeping up with those symptoms!) happening to a generation with totalizing pollution becoming the new natural.

When I was in my early teens, I saw my grandparents ravaged by cancers and diseases. I watched their bodies start to give out, shake precariously at the simple acts of eating and sleeping, constantly injecting themselves with medicines or walking around hooked up to medical bags that pumped toxins into them. The unspoken question I always thought of, still unanswered, was the etiology of that illness. Questions of meaning come up against the silent, unresponsive terrain of the body. Of course surgery proliferates in Cronenberg’s world, one where knowledge of the body becomes inaccessible despite the persistent metastasis of our desire to inspect it.

This isn’t a movie about how microplastics are bad or about how fetishism can come about from anything. This is the simple expression of an insatiable drive, picking at a wound, pressing on a bruise. Seeking politics or coherent ideology here means you didn’t pay attention; Cronenberg enshrines the body as a temple of chthonian realities of denied, withheld, and absent meaning.

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