What Cronenberg is moving toward is a more muted version of the exercises he’s always created. His new films just happen to involve gangsters rather than scientists and technological freaks.
What has not been left behind is Cronenberg’s capacity to shock and disturb an audience riveted by his films’ destruction of the human body. And in a world saturated with snuff films the likes of which Videodrome could barely imagine, he’s more than willing to take the less-is-more approach to physical violence.
“We’re in a very bizarre era right now, where snuff porn that never really existed before is now available,” he says. “If you want to see beheadings or stonings, you can see them any time you want on your computer. And it’s low-tech, too: not the internet, but a woman being stoned to death.”
He’s taken that cultural phenomenon to heart: The most advanced weaponry in Eastern Promises is a carpet knife.