Maestro: David Cronenberg
Known For: sci-fi, thriller, or generally disturbing takes on violent people.
Influences: plenty of great cerebral or sci-fi writers. Philip Dick, Ray Bradbury, Franz Kafka. Cinematically? According to Cronenberg, he grew up liking westerns.
Masterpieces: I respect a lot of his work. For me Eastern Promises and Dead Ringers are at the top.
Disasters: Oh eXistenZ really does kinda sUcK.
Better than you remember: I can't blame anyone for reacting with abhorrence to Crash. But it's really not that bad.
Box Office: over 40 mil for The Fly
Favorite Actor: When Cronenberg's next film is released (next year) Viggo Mortensen will be the #1 man with three showings. Right now there are a few actors who've starred in two Cronenberg films, including Ian Holm and Jeremy Irons.
Not many directors can work handily for over three decades and still be considered a "modern maestro." David Cronenberg is not only still making movies, but he's at the top of his game. He's reached a point in his career where a new Cronenberg film is greeted by movie lovers as a slightly out of the mainstream event and my guess is this is exactly where he wants to be. Through the past thirty years as we've watched his career go from horror in the late 70's to science fiction in the early 80's to psychological dramas with surreal elements in the 90's to straight thrillers this century (and for the sake of modernness, we'll try to stick to those here), his top interest has always been the same: violence. We've discussed directors who explore violence before. Tarantino loves the excitement of it. For Von Trier it's a social weapon. But for David Cronenberg, violence is simple and intimate. His movies ponder how we come to violence and how it comes to us. He examines how it alters our identity. After all, our bodies are our identities and when parts of those bodies are punctured, cut open, amputated or scarred, it alters who we are and what we are, if even just a little bit.
mentally scarred, someone in the pursuit of good, or even someone a lot more like you and I than you'd expect. It is the psyche of this individual that is at the very heart of what a Cronenberg movie is. But why stop there? Cronenberg movies always seem simple when they're fantastically layered. Where there's violence, sex isn't far behind. In an industry where most sex scenes are used as either shallow titillation or trailer teasing, Cronenberg's have always been immediate and necessary. When was the last time sex scenes were used to demonstrate the evolution of a relationship as successfully as those in A History of Violence?
Life is good. What could go wrong?
Even though Cronenberg started off as a horror director (saying that sounds so reductive doesn't it? I really don't mean it pejoratively) his style has always defied the easy tricks of that genre. Cronenberg's horrors aren't about the startle, they're about the slow build. While watching one of his films, you're never worried that something will jump out at you around the next corner. In fact you're certain that nothing will. But you know that what's around the next corner will be worse than what was around the last corner. And what's around the corner after that will be worse still. And you can't escape it. Although Cronenberg has departed the genre of supernatural horror (for good?), he's kept this method of building slow terror and it continues to serve him well.
next film, which will deal with a theme that while not violence (not directly at least) has been prevalent in all his work. Psychoanalysis, and the relationship between Freud and Jung (starring Viggo again and Michael Fassbender, what a cast!) Talk about things being worse around the next corner.