David Cronenberg’s ‘Crimes of the Future’ received a mixed reception at Cannes Film Festival when it premiered, with some people fainting, some people walking out and some people applauding for more than 5 minutes. And now that it has released to cinemas, the film has retained a mixed reception with a real discrepancy between critics and audience scores on Rotten Tomatoes.
One thing that everyone seems to agree on is that ‘Crimes of the Future’ has some interesting ideas, but leaves viewers with a lot of questions. The ending is very abrupt and felt quite jarring to me, and that sentiment has been echoed by countless people online, particularly on Reddit where much of the discussion centers around the meaning of the ending.
So here is our attempt at deciphering what Crimes of the Future was trying to say, and what the ending was all about (and of course, we’re talking major spoilers here):
The main questions which people seem to be left with are…why did the dad die, why did the boy have tatooed organs already in him, and why did the movie end so abruptly after Saul ate the plastic bar? Let’s try and answer those questions:
Why was Lang (the dad) killed by the 2 women?
We’ve deliberately described Berst & Dani as simply “the two women” because there is some debate as to whether or not they actually worked for the company making all of the biomedical machines featured in the movie, such as the chairs and the autopsy machine, but it probably makes sense that they did. The reason being that their killing of Lang and of Dr. Nasatir makes more sense when you consider that these technicians would be incentivized to kill anyone who might threaten the need for their equipment. Both Lang and Dr. Nasatir fit this bill, as Lang was trying to spread the word that bodies were changing to eat plastic, and the Dr. was promoting “inner beauty”.
Why did the boy have tattooed organs inside of him already?
We feel this part of the movie is really poorly executed so we’re not totally sure on this one, but the cop says to Saul that Timlin did it. The cop mumbles this so it is easily missed. The reason for the autopsy was to show people the boy’s natural organs (which could digest plastic). So when these organs were removed and replaced with normal, tattooed organs, it undermined Lang’s plan. The reason Timlin did it is because she wanted to keep this evolution of the human body a secret, possibly solely to prolong the live surgeries of Saul (which she is clearly aroused by). Again, we need to reiterate that all of this is pretty badly explained in our opinion!
Why did the movie end so abruptly after Saul ate the plastic?
As soon as Saul eats the plastic and we all realize that he has been going against his body’s natural evolution this whole time, the movie ends. This felt really abrupt to us and everyone else in the cinema seemed to feel the same. But upon reflection, we kind of understand why Cronenberg did this – you fill in the blanks yourself in a way, knowing that there is no way Saul is going to continue living. Caprice needs him to continue developing organs for the shows, Timlin wants him to be operated on for her fetish, and the technicians want him to continue requiring their machines for the good of the business. One of these parties is going to kill him, and that’s inevitable.
Saying all of this though, we do feel the story could have continued for another 45 minutes and we could have had another twist. Not that we want to tell David Cronenberg how to make movies.
Some other questions people had:
What were the chairs doing?
It’s not totally explained specifically what the chairs are doing, but clearly they are helping people -who have evolved to eat plastic – eat normal food. This is cemented by the final shot of the film, where Saul’s chair stops moving when he takes a bit from the plastic bar, as he is having no problem digesting it.
Why put the plastic bars in a plastic wrapper if the consumers can eat plastic?
Good point, we have no answer for this.