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Crash (1996)

Cast: James Spader, James Spader, Holly Hunter, more...
Director: David Cronenberg, David Cronenberg
    see all cast/crew...
Rating: Not Rated
Studio: New Line Home Video
Genre: Cult, Drama, Erotica
Running Time: 100 min.
Languages: English, French
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
    see additional details...

After surviving a brutal car wreck, commercial director James Ballard finds himself slowly drawn to a mysterious subculture of people who have transformed automobile accidents into erotic events. Like the J.G. Ballard novel that inspired it, David Cronenberg's study of the sexual dimension of man's relationship to technology was a magnet for controversy, drawing a NC-17 rating and criticism from several sources, including studio owner Ted Turner, who attempted to prevent the film's American release. But though some have leveled charges of pornography, James' descent into this fetishistic underworld is approached with cold, scientific detachment. Characters like Vaughn, the charismatic group leader who stages recreations of celebrity car crashes, seem more like driven researchers than sexual renegades, which is undoubtedly part of the film's point. This impression is reinforced by the pristine cinematography by Peter Suschitzsky, which proves particularly haunting during a crucial accident scene, and Howard Shore's superb score. Far from exploitative, Crash in fact proves less transgressive than the original novel, but is still undoubtedly not for all tastes. ~ Judd Blaise, All Movie Guide

Read GreenCine's exclusive interview with David Cronenberg, who, 40 years since his first short, just over 30 since his first feature, Shivers, is still subverting expectations. In a wide-ranging conversation, David D'Arcy asks him about A History of Violence, his Canadian origins, the Crash controversy, going to Tangiers with William S. Burroughs, the Dead Ringers TV series... for starters. Full Article >>

You might also enjoy:
Dead Ringers
Another Cronenberg foray into the darkness of the human psyche (which could describe all his films come to think of it); brilliant dual-portrayal by Jeremy Irons

Peeping Tom
Similarly controversial, disturbing film was reviled upon initial release but now considered important

GreenCine Member Reviews

To have sex to the fullest is to have it dangerously by dante2023 January 18, 2004 - 10:12 PM PST
11 out of 12 members found this review helpful
David Cronenberg's motif is the human flesh: "Death to Videodrome, long live the new flesh!". Crash shows us an imaginary world of intimacy of the flesh by the breakdown of comfort and normal flow.

Crash is a metaphor that uses technology and the flesh. The car with its normal flow of traffic symbolizes the mechanism of technology. The mechanism of technology distances us from our flesh and our animal appetites because technology results in civilization and civilization results in suppression of animal behaviours. When this mechanism--this flow of traffic--is suddenly interrupted and destroyed by a car crash, the result is an awakening and a celebration of the human flesh.

The human sex drive is driven by imagination. Crash is the symbol of this sex drive. Part of this sex drive is the need to be alive and creative--the car crash is the creativity. When this is somehow achieved by James Ballard (James Spader's character) after crashing with Holly Hunter's character, he seeks to relive it like the Vaughan character who also seeks to relive celebrity car crashes. The car crash is like this ultimate unforgettable sexual experience that we have experienced in our life at some point in time that we consciously or unconsciously seek to experience again with the same or new sexual partners. And this seeking to relive is a fetish. The scars represent the excitement of the past and the unpredictable consequence of the car crash--whether you are going to live or die--allows for the reliving of the past to feel like new; thus, resulting in a sexual arousement. The car crash, metaphorically, can create this excitement because of its closeness to death--a masochistic approach. (The Marquis De Sade can understand Crash more fully I think.) This is part of the sexual side of the human condition. Why do people do things that are out of the ordinary? The answer maybe is Friedrich Nietzsche's philosophy: Live life dangerously in order to live life to the fullest. Maybe the same can be said about sex.

The DVD also allows you to choose between Rated NC-17 or the Rated R version. I would suggest the NC-17 because it is what Cronenberg fully intended. I definitely recommend Crash but it must be viewed and approached differently than any other film. If you think you are going to sit down, escape, and become involve with the characters, you mind as well forget about it. This is a thinking film and only for those who are open minded and have not been poisoned by too many recycled Hollywood movies.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.39)
475 Votes
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