Tuesday, May 5, 2015
David Cronenberg’s films have always been a bit of an acquired taste. If you can bear sitting through stories about emotionally and (often) physically scarred people who continue to be tortured by and torture themselves over their trauma, and you like it all presented in the harsh cold of the distance the filmmaker puts between his audience and the film’s subjects, then you might keep returning to his work. His films are rarely short of intriguing and boundary-pushing. At least it was through his first two decades or so. It’s getting harder and harder to shock people. Once you’ve done exploding heads, nude bathhouse knife fights, and people whose sexual fetish involves car crashes, where is there room for turning stomachs? His recent spate of work resides in a heightened glossy reality. He had a mainstream renaissance with A History of Violence and Eastern Promises. Those two are among the most accessible pieces in his body of work, but they still require a suspension of conventional expectations.