An excerpt from Reals’ script review for Crimes of the Future which will be available 06/27/22:
Excited today to check out a draft of a long-gestating Cronenberg project: Crimes of the Future!
This is not a remake of Cronenberg’s 1970 project of the same name, according to THIS ARTICLE. And, this story seems to have been in development for a long time. In fact, according to the LA Times, “Cronenberg wrote the script for his latest “Crimes of the Future,” originally titled “Painkillers,” back in the late 1990s…”
This early version of the script, titled “Painkillers”, is the one that was available for review today, so it is the one I will be discussing.
Before we jump into the story and script, I did have a couple of notes about the logline. Interestingly, I found several different loglines for the film / script, which I have included below:
From IMDB: Humans adapt to a synthetic environment, with new transformations and mutations. With his partner Caprice, Saul Tenser, celebrity performance artist, publicly showcases the metamorphosis of his organs in avant-garde performances.
From Google: As the human species adapts to a synthetic environment, the body undergoes new transformations and mutations. Accompanied by his partner, celebrity performance artist Saul Tenser showcases the metamorphosis of his organs. Meanwhile, a mysterious group tries to use Saul’s notoriety to shed light on the next phase of human evolution.
From Write to Reel – from user jason_anybody : Humans adapt to a synthetic environment, with new transformations and mutations.
My issue with all of these is that they really tell us very little about the plot, characters, or why we should care about this story at all.
This is something to pay attention to, as you don’t want a reader making the same note on your script’s logline. Especially because, as writers looking to break into the industry, we won’t have the pedigree of David Cronenberg to help sell our story.
Now, let’s get into it!
The Opening – Grimy, filthy, horrific – these are all terms that can be used to describe the opening scene, where a distressed mother smothers her young child because there is something wrong with him.
Normally, I would say that this is a cheap scene meant to shock, but the way it is described and all of the questions that the scene raises made me interested in who these people were, and kept me reading.
The Length – Mercifully, this was a short 84 pages (including the title page and a blank page at the end). But with chunks of exposition, walls of text, and no real plot, it felt like a much longer read.
Nice Description – In the walls of text, there are some well-written pieces of description.
Pg. 21 – Crowds swarming and schooling like fish.
Pg. 23 – The crowd shuffles closer, drawn towards the capsule as if magnetized.
Disturbing Scenes – There is a really disturbing moment on pages 37 – 38 where Tenser and Caprice have sex in a machine that looks like a coffin while various surgical tools cut and slice at their flesh.
It was extreme body horror and I’m sure it’s pretty horrific on screen, which I believe is what this film / script is going for.
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