Almost unwatchable - for Cronenberg die-hards only
- David Cronenberg's Early Works review by RJ
As a big fan of David Cronenberg, especially the earlier body horror films, I had long been interested in watching this compilation of his early works. I had considered buying it on several occasions - thank goodness I just chose to rent it, as it is hard to imagine anyone in the world, even the most ardent Cronenberg worshipper, wanting to watch any of these twice.
'Transfer' and 'From the Drain' are short films Cronenberg made as a student which possess no merit or interest whatsoever.
'Stereo' and 'Crimes of the Future' represent a bridge between the early short films and 'Shivers', which I would still consider to be Cronenberg's first true feature film. Both were shot silently due to the cameras being too noisy to record sound at the same time. Stereo has an added narration from multiple voices (to say multiple 'characters' would be putting it too strongly I think), whilst COTF has a narration from the main protagonist as well as occasional sound effects and odd bits of music. In each film, the narration hints at intriguing ideas, many of which would be explored in Cronenberg's later features. Unfortunately the visual elements of both films, whilst showing a sharp eye for striking compositions, are abstract and desperately dull. The running time of each of these films is only an hour but both feel much, much longer.
Film critic Kim Newman, writing about Crimes of the Future, couldn't have put it any better when he stated it was "more fun to read about in synopsis than to watch" and that it proved it was "possible to be boring and interesting at the same time".
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