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Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Léa Seydoux, Kristen Stewart, Scott Speedman, Welket Bungué, Don McKellar, Lihi Kornowski, Tanaya Beatty, Nadia Litz, Yorgos Karamichos, Yorgos Pirpassopoulos
OUR RATING: ★★★½
Horror sci-fi written and directed by David Cronenberg. Crimes of the Future (2022) is set in the not so distant future, where the human species adapts to a synthetic environment, and the body undergoes new transformations and mutations. With his partner Caprice (Léa Seydoux), Saul Tenser (Viggo Mortensen), celebrity performance artist, publicly showcases the metamorphosis of his organs in avant-garde performances. Timlin (Kristen Stewart), an investigator from the National Organ Registry, obsessively tracks their movements, which is when a mysterious group is revealed. Their mission, to use Saul’s notoriety to shed light on the next phase of human evolution.
Our Favorite Quotes:'It is time to stop seeing. It is time to stop speaking. It is time to listen.' - (Crimes of the Future) Click To Tweet
Caprice: There is a new hormone in your bloodstream.
Saul Tenser: Ah. Great. It’s about time. I thought I was all tapped out. Dried up.
Caprice: You always think that, and you’re always wrong.
Saul Tenser: One day, I’ll be right.
Caprice: Not today.
Saul Tenser: What do you see? I can feel you pulling things around in there.
Caprice: It seems to be some small sort of endocrine gland, about the size of an adrenal gland.
Saul Tenser: Small. That’s disappointing. It’s not very dramatic.
Caprice: It’s a brand new organ. Never before seen. And it’s functioning. Can you feel it? That new hormone?
Saul Tenser: Yeah.
Saul Tenser: This new organ, it’s shifting my pain centres.
Caprice: For better or worse?
Saul Tenser: So far, just different.
Caprice: [referring to registering a new organ] Sorry, we’re a little confused about procedure. This is our first time.
Timlin: But you understand the necessity of organ registration from a security standpoint?
Saul Tenser: We understand human bodies are changing. I know this quite well. And, apparently, this is of some concern to the governments of the world.
Wippet: Human bodies, yes. “Human” is the operative word.
Wippet: Human evolution is the concern. That it’s going wrong. That it’s uncontrolled, it’s insurrectional. It might lead us to a bad place. Look what’s happened to the pain thresholds, for instance. The world is a much more dangerous place now that pain has all but disappeared.
Wippet: Pain has a function. It is a warning system that we don’t have anymore. And how did this happen? What does this mean? Or what about infections? Infections? What happened to them? Nobody washes their hands anymore. Or what is that new, fad? What do they call it? Desktop surgery? In public! It’s repulsive.
Timlin: Our records indicate that you’ve been producing random and novel bodily organs for some years, but that you’ve had them consistently removed.
Saul Tenser: Who wouldn’t?
Wippet: You’d be surprised.
Caprice: We would be surprised. They’re basically tumors, right? Who would want to keep them? They could kill you.
Timlin: What is the relationship between you two?
Caprice: I remove these tumors as part of our performance. We are performance artists. We perform together.
Timlin: And you’re qualified to perform surgery?
Saul Tenser: Well, as Mr. Wippet was saying, everybody’s qualified to perform surgery these days.
Caprice: If consent is legally given, there is really no issue there.
Timlin: I was speaking of your professional relationship. You wouldn’t want to kill your performance partner, would you?
Saul Tenser: You never know. There’s a lot of improvisation in our shows.
Caprice: We met when Saul was cut up on duty. I was a trauma surgeon at First General. We unleashed things in each other. We both changed, left our professions. And now we are what we are.
Wippet: Oh. You’re stars, that’s what you are. Gosh, everyone wants to be a performance artist these days. It’s all the rage, but not everyone can do it.
Wippet: Well, we here at the National Organ Registry have just instituted a new policy of tattooing novel organs, or idiopathic organs, that is, new organs whose function is unknown, so that they can be registered and kept track of. Our fear is that some of these neo-organs might establish themselves genetically, and then be passed down from parents to children, who would then no longer be, strictly speaking, human. At least, in the classical sense.
Caprice: [referring to Wippet and Timlin] I don’t think you should have invited those two creeps from the registry to our show.
Saul Tenser: Why not? Why not get them on our side?
Caprice: I don’t trust them. The woman, Timlin, she’s especially creepy.
Saul Tenser: I thought she was rather attractive. In a bureaucratic way.
Saul Tenser: [referring to Sark autopsy module] Do you ever work on one of these?
Berst: They stopped making them before our time. I’ve never seen one in the flesh before.
Router: They’re legendary.
Berst: What do you use it for? You’re not in the autopsy business, are you?
Caprice: It’s my paint brush.
Timlin: Do you mind if I ask you something intimate?
Saul Tenser: Hi. No, go ahead.
Timlin: That surgery is sex, isn’t it?
Saul Tenser: Is it?
Timlin: You know it is. Surgery is the new sex.
Saul Tenser: Does there have to be new sex?
Timlin: Yes. Yes, it’s time. When I was watching Caprice cut into you, I wanted…
Saul Tenser: Yes?
Timlin: I wanted you to be cutting into me. That’s when I knew.
Caprice: [referring to Timlin flirting with Tenser] What was that all about?
Saul Tenser: Just another epiphany. Art triumphs once again.
Router: Saul Tenser is an artist of the inner landscape. Creation of art is often associated with pain. And pain, as we know, is always associated with sleep.
Router: A good night’s sleep is a hard thing to define when you’re an artist and you seek pain.
Wippet: [referring to new organs] It’s like discovering a new species of animal.
Timlin: Well, more like discovering a new Picasso.
Cope: How can a tumorous growth be considered art? Where is the emotional shaping, the philosophical understanding, which is basic to all art?
Cope: Look, I have a lump on my abdomen. You see it? Picasso? Duchamp? Francis Bacon, perhaps? Am I an artist?
'I don't like what's happening with the body. In particular, what's happening with my body, which is why I keep cutting it up.' - Saul Tenser (Crimes of the Future) Click To Tweet
Timlin: [referring to Tenser] He takes the rebellion of his own body and seizes control of it. Shapes it, tattoos it, displays it, creates theatre out of it. It has meaning, very potent meaning, and many, many people respond to it.
Wippet: [referring to Tenser] See, right from the beginning, after he met Caprice, all his neo-organs were tattooed while they were still inside his body.
Cope: Caprice is his lover?
Timlin: Caprice is his performance partner. She does the tattoos. And the surgery.
Cope: Looks to me as though Caprice is the artist. Tenser is just a glorified organ donor.
Wippet: We believe, that on a certain level, perhaps a subconscious one, Saul Tenser wills these new organs to grow.
Caprice: Your bed says that you’re working on something new. Can that be right? So soon?
Saul Tenser: The bed is very quiet. The bed is never wrong.
Adrienne Berceau: [referring to Klinek] The ears. They’re cute. They’re striking. But a thousand ears is not good design. Surround sound? The extra ears don’t even work. They’re just for show.
Adrienne Berceau: Are you working on anything new, Mr. Tenser?
Saul Tenser: I never really know when I’m working on something new. It doesn’t seem to be my decision.
Adrienne Berceau: What if it is?
Saul Tenser: If it is?
Adrienne Berceau: The creation of inner beauty cannot be an accident. Forgive me for quoting you and your show.
Lang Dotrice: [referring to the Sark unit] Have you ever thought about using it for a real autopsy? As part of your show?
Saul Tenser: Perform an autopsy?
Lang Dotrice: On a corpse. I have a corpse for you. It’s a very special corpse. You could do a live autopsy on a dead body. And there would be surprises. I can guarantee a few surprises.
Lang Dotrice: I mean, how radical are you? Are you afraid of a little emotion?
Saul Tenser: I’m afraid of everything.
Caprice: Are you in discomfort?
Saul Tenser: No, it’s a compelling fullness. Not a completely bad feeling. At least not uninteresting.
Saul Tenser: I don’t know where the law is on acts degrading to human remains. We’ll have to be outrageous to make it worthwhile. We have to go deep.
Cope: Listen, illuminate me. Why is Saul Tenser doing undercover? I mean, you seem to be pretty deep into that body-art stuff.
Saul Tenser: Well, what I’m saying with that body-art stuff is that I don’t like what’s happening with the body. In particular, what’s happening with my body, which is why I keep cutting it up.
Cope: Your partner, Caprice, she’s in the dark about this? The under the covers?
Saul Tenser: Yeah.
Saul Tenser: Yeah.
Cope: She can’t read your insides? There aren’t any traces there that say undercover stoolie?
Saul Tenser: You really are imaginative.
Cope: I heard it was a good show. Very disturbing. Multiple ears. Wow. Got to be good.
Saul Tenser: It was okay. If you like escapist propaganda.
Saul Tenser: Why is your body-crime unit called New Vice? I don’t get the vice part.
Cope: Somebody in the Bureau thought it was sexier than Evolutionary Derangement. Sexier means easier funding.
Router: [referring to Tenser] What happened to him?
Caprice: The body-growth thing.
Router: Is there a name for it?
Caprice: Accelerated Evolution Syndrome. Your body gets very inventive and throws a lot of new stuff at you. I guess it wants to see what sticks for the next generation.
Router: Yeah, but Tenser’s not letting anything stick, is he? I mean, not if he’s getting rid of it all. The new, improved body parts?
Caprice: It’s pathological. It’s not healthy. It’s a breakdown of the system. An organism needs organization. Otherwise, it’s just designer cancer.
Dr. Nasatir: This is very exciting.
Saul Tenser: Is it?
Dr. Nasatir: Seeing you here, is like a lightning bolt from the blue. It strikes you very hard and very convincingly.
Dr. Nasatir: Saul Tenser and the Inner Beauties. It’s a marriage made in heaven.