"The only movie I have EVER not watched to the end..."
Do not be fooled. This is not a challenging piece of art, pushing the boundaries of film making and exploring the limits of human sexuality. It is in fact a crass piece of shit, without heart or soul.Sadly for David Cronenberg, he has explored all the themes of this movie before, and had done it much more effectively. James Spader and Deborah Unger offer sterile and un-involving performances, and the whole film is essentially empty.
Apologists for this film will claim that these are deliberate efforts on the part of the director and performers, and to some extent they are right. However Cronenberg's stylist effort to capture some of the monotony of his source material does not excuse the complete inability of the film to engage with the audience on any level - we simply do not care about the principals, nor do care what their motivations are, nor do we care about what happens to them - there is nothing to link you into the film.
No amount of goodwill towards a bold film-maker can excuse the basic inability of this film to engage. It fails on a fundamental level as it is complete unable to interest the watcher, either in the plot or in the fate of the characters. Who cares what the film is about when all you want to do is go home and forget that you've just wasted ten bucks...This is an excrable addition to the cannon of film making, not because it is sick or perverted, but simply because it is a soul-less, and brainless film.