emilyrugburn’s review published on Letterboxd:
As it turns out, the most well-adjusted and relatable character was the child murderer 😌
I think there’s two things - in this case - that are tough to interrogate without inherently participating in them yourself - at least, in terms of the way DC is interrogating them here.
I think it’s tough to explore (lovingly mock?) pretentious performance art without engaging in pretentious performance art yourself - that’s less of an issue to me, tho.
And I think it’s tough to explore how we (the “modern” we (🙄)) are, more and more, both fixated on our changing bodies (during the covid age) and estranged from them, as evidenced by both the processed junk we put into them (that’s the more low-hanging fruit problem he’s looking at) and I’d argue even more so the way media and whatever else just simply have us detached from the weight of each others’ and our own death and suffering (people depicted cutting up each others’ bodies and it always looks like the cutter is experiencing greater pleasure than the cut-ee - sort of like a tactile physical suffering version of the thing I always say about how eventually we’re gonna be sharing photos of our own poop with each other on social media).
Anyway I didn’t even like the movie enough to will my smooth brain into cranking out a few more paragraphs of that level of seriousness, I do not have it in me y’all lol but point is…
I really don’t think we needed to see a dead child’s genitals in this movie and that’s just one example of the latter “can’t criticize it without participating in it” problem I was getting at, above - he wants to interrogate our aloofness to and estrangement from our own and each others’ bodily and existential suffering, but his method of doing that involves a lot of concepts and setpieces and images that are very distastefully aloof to suffering themselves. Like, if these were less politically evolved times when we insulted each other by likening a lack of empathy to neurodivergence (which is not ok, but let’s admit it we used to do it a lot), I would’ve been like, “David, you’re on the spectrum and you don’t realize how insensitive you’re being right now.”
The nude dead child body stuff was just not justifiable to me, it transcended a shock value justification.
That serious stuff aside, I got traces of ENORMOUS joy and delight from Kristen’s absolutely unhinged performance - the most “character-y” I’ve ever seen her be - as a real, live, walking, talking reptile.
I also loved many of the supporting performances. I thought Lihi Kornowski - as my aforementioned beloved child murderer - gave the best performance in the movie!
Léa Seydoux was great and very intense. She continues to have the best boobs of our current cinema age, but we really didn’t need to see them this much or at all (along with the other boobs and vag we saw, while seeing no adult penises).
Great to see Atom Egoyan mainstay Don McKellar!
The actors playing the two “technicians” seemed like they were hired straight off of Cool Girl Instagram - like, they seemed like they won a contest…no offense.
I don’t like Viggo but I like his Henley shirts!
Even in Cronenberg’s weirdo future world, we’re 1) still doing Black cop characters to justify the existence of cops? 😭 and 2) still giving kids names like Brecken? 😭
Anyway, in closing - I need therapy to be free and I need all white people to go to it immediately, thank you.