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Crowning Cronenberg

Tuesday 25 October 2011, 16:31

Mark Kermode Mark Kermode

Veteran horror director David Cronenberg is about to be awarded a Fellowship by the BFI at this year's London Film Festival. I gave him a Kermode Fellowship a few years back and in my opinion he has given us some of the most extraordinary, disturbing and thought provoking films in all of cinema.

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    Comment number 1.

    Well done to Cronenberg, and to the Good Doctor for hitting the nail on the head. Cronenberg works because his films actually *mean* something. There is something about his films that means you are able to watch them again and again, that lets you slip into that unsettling world of his and be taken through this bizarre landscape. For my money, Dead Ringers is his best - it's always knocking about in my top 5 or 10 - but it's a great body of work and well done to him.

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    Comment number 2.

    I love his films. There is a quality about all of them, even the early ones, that sets them apart from his contemparies. It's a coldness, a detachedness (is that a word?) that's really hard to put your finger on but yet at the same time is so.... Cronenberg.

    And yet, they also contain something very important - humanity. You've mentioned some good examples of it here, but even in his more mainstream efforts such as The Dead Zone (one of my favorites!), a film which in lesser hands could have been so much B movie fodder but looks at the human cost of Christopher Walken's curse, as he battles with the dilemma of knowing that someone will in the future cause the end of humanity, so should he kill that person? It was his most subtle film up to that point and still packed an emotional punch.

    A History Of Violence is another great film in a CV littered with them. Throughout his work there's a litany of central (male) characters to whom things happen - Scanners, The Dead Zone, Videodrome, Existenz, The Fly, Naked Lunch, Dead Ringers (two people) and Spider - and we as the audience are locked into their fate, following them as they make their voyage to (mostly) their end.

    I'm looking forward to A Dangerous Method immensely - even if it has got Keira Knightley in it.

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    Comment number 3.

    As much as I love Cronenberg, I find his output pretty patchy. His early horror stuff was all great, and I have a particularly strong soft spot (if you can call it that) for Scanners and Videodrome. But Existenz I thought was a dreadful film that seemed to me to just re-hash ideas from Videodrome and Naked Lunch. A History of Violence was half a good film, and I'm afraid Spider bored me to death.

    Thankfully Easton Promises was on top form and A Dangerous Method looks set to be great too.

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    Comment number 4.

    The Fly is one of the, if not the greatest film ever made.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    As a life-long fan of Cronenberg, I was stunned when A History Of Violence turned out to be his finest film to date. I can't think of any other director whose best film was released after 30 years and with 15 films behind him.

    The best, most consistently interesting auteur still working.

    VERY much looking forward to A Dangerous Method. His partnership with Viggo Mortensen has so far been hugely succesful and the inclusion of Michael Fassbender in the cast is a big bonus.


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