Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Crimes of the Future

(David Cronenberg, 1970)
Cronenberg's second feature length shot is no radical departure from the first - still obscure, still static, still dwarfed by that hypermodern architectural location. But it is an advance. The color cinematography is more precise than that of "Stereo", and the silences are broken by bizarre, muffled sound loops that sound like nature LPs put through a Seth Brundle telepod. The narrative has taken on more forward motion this time, and is better integrated with the voiceover. And the absurdist humour is more precise, more pervasive, and less improvisational: you feel he's got control over the actors as well as the camera. And in the final sequence he pulls a real gotcha, as the rebel doctors set out to impregnate the little girl they have kidnapped; this palpably tasteless, horrifying scenario could have been played for easy irony, but the scene carefully choreographs a series of complex and challenging emotional reactions to this 'strange, unfathomable captive', sending us out the door on a mind-bending curve that both foreshadows and illuminates his later bravura nose-thumbing atrocities.

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