I love Cronenberg and his way of telling stories. He’s of the most free artist that we have in the current movies scene, he does what and how he wants. He’s honest in his approaches: he gives expressions to his fears, his worries and his obsessions. There are three constants in his creations: physical and mind degeneration (due to his father’s long degenerative disease) that you can see it in movies like The Fly, Deadringers, M. Butterfly and many others. The second one is the technology, a human evolution through the technology, merging organic with inorganic, for instance, Crash, ExistenZ or Videodrome. And the last one, the sex. Cronenberg has been accused of misogynist, but I don’t agree with that. In all his works, there is an important erotic factor: all the sexual scenes are wild, it doesn’t matter if the scene is homo or heteroerotic, they are always violent, pressing, urgent, dark and necessary. Maybe with a sad longing connotation and even a death connotation, like Romans used to say Post festum, pestum. The most impressive for me is all the starring characters are lonely, outsiders by a world, that quite often, they don’t understand it pretty well and it’s that world who find them guilty of acts that they commit because they can’t help themselves. A society who excludes them but at the same time, it makes them to be like they are.
The same way that in 1988, his career suffered an infection point with Deadringers, this movie is one of the best or even the best in my opinion, now with A History of Violence, it was taken as a new full stop. Critics are talking about his maturity but I don’t think there has been any change in this main structure creating stories, It’s just a matter of evolution.
I earnestly recommend you his filmography, from the adaptation of books by Ballard (“Crash”), by Burroughs (“naked lunch”) and the adaptation of the comic by John Wagner and Vincent Locke (“History of Violence”), to his own scripts. For a first approach to Cronenberg´s works, without a previous knowledgement, I recommend if you’re a thriller movies fan, History of Violence, or if you’re a sci-fi movies, existenZ or The fly, in this way you can go forward to the less “easy watching” movies like Deadrings or Spider.
Last year was the première of “Eastern Promises” working again with Viggo Mortensen on an original Cronenberg script. Everything started with a prostitute’s death but Cronerberg didn’t focus the story in who did what and why, but how this fact will help us to know a context, a world, some characters, how they think and they behaves. I want to remark Mortensen´s performance, who was accused of a lack of expression, for me it was fantastique. There is a scene, a fighting scene, that it was really impressive but the best one (for me) was the last one. Just a scene without talking, without any kind of action, it showed us the purest Cronenberg. Honestly a stunning work!