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The controversial 1996 film directed by David Cronenberg and based on the book by J.G. Ballard.

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A Quick Tip by Count_Orlok_22

  • Jun 24, 2011
Simultaneously one of David Cronenberg's most flawed films and his most daring, Crash manages to be a film of seeming contradictions as it merges a truly psychologically disturbing story and character elements with a level of eroticism rarely seen in mainstream cinema. The film was hugely controversial upon its original release, in part because of its distressing and provocative thematic material, but also because of its somewhat unconventional directorial execution. Cronenberg isn't interested in giving these characters (all of them emotionally stunted, promiscuous and sexually deviant) shades of color or likability. He presents them as they are and we as an audience are asked to enjoy them or to judge them, but simply to observe them in a voyeuristic manner as their automobile fetishism, adrenaline-fueled hedonism, and insatiable sexual appetites lead to their own inevitable decline into shallow libidinous encounters and self-destruction.

The story follows a couple, James Ballard, a film director and his soon-to-be-pilot wife, Catherine, and their various extramarital affairs. The pair are so disenchanted and devoid of emotion that they have taken to having flings with co-workers and strangers and sharing the intimate details with each other in the hope that they might actually feel something. But one night things change when Ballard has an automobile accident in which a man is killed and the man's wife, Dr. Remington and Ballard are both left severely injured and shaken. Upon their recovery they meet again and discover that they have shared something unique in the events of the accident and they begin a strange sexual relationship centered around the thrill of participating in and witnessing automobile crashes. Soon, other crash fetishists are brought into their inner circle and all the figures, including a sociopath named Vaughan. Together they engage in orgiastic behavior while driving, leading them all down a dark road of desperation, lust, and obsession until they each of them collide into reality and discover the consequences of their lethal desires.

The film's cast is superb and one can only praise them in their audacity at taking on characters of this nature and literally exposing themselves to the world. James Spader, Elias Koteas, Holly Hunter, Deborah Kara Unger, and Rosanna Arquette all deliver performances of an appropriately distant and chilly nature all the while giving very realistic depictions of emotionally inert sex scenes. Each character is so driven (no pun intended) and obsessed with their need for destructive sexual satisfaction climaxing in near-death situations in automobiles that as a viewer you almost feel your in the passenger seat with a madman who's about to crash into a brick wall and all you can do is wait and watch and wonder who will survive.

On a whole, Crash is not entertaining nor was it designed to be, thus it will not be for most people. It's not really a sexy film, since all of the sexuality is tainted by gruesome images of violence and loveless sexual pairings of characters who are so dysfunctional that you can't really relate to them. This is where the film is uncompromising in its vision and what makes it so controversial, even more so than its graphic imagery, because how can audiences become engaged in a film that is intentionally designed to alienate and disturb them. Cronenberg has made a stylistic decision to use the trappings of pornography and the thriller genre and expertly blended them together in a way that will shock viewers, disturb them, keep them riveted, and ultimately leave them feeling (temporarily) as hollow as the film's characters and their failed attempts to connect to one another.
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June 24, 2011
This was a weird one...I liked it! It was surreal, bizarre and over-the-top but it was sexy the way it porttrayed the extremes of sex. Nice one. How you feeling?
June 24, 2011
I'm feeling better than Vaughan. LOL!
More Crash (1996 film) reviews
review by . October 05, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
1996 poster
   It comes as no surprise that controversy surrounds David Cronenberg’s “CRASH” (1996); a movie about gruesome sex and automobile accidents. The movie was a big hit in the CANNES film festival, it has been banned in England for a time and its release was delayed in U.S. shores. The film is based on the book by J.G. Ballard, who also wrote his semi-autobiographical novel “Empire of the Sun”. This film explores the shocking world of people who get sexually …
review by . December 07, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Cronenberg's inventive and disturbing film about eroticism and automobiles explores the following quasi-syllogism:    Premise 1: Cars are sexy  Premise 2: Sex in cars is exciting (because, I guess, cars are sexy and because of the risk of being seen)  Premise 3: Sex while driving is dangerous and thrilling (because, perhaps, the risk of a crash adds adrenaline to the thrills listed above)  Therefore, car crashes are the ultimate aphrodisiac.    I …
review by . June 25, 2007
I really tried to like this movie, but with every scene it became more and more ridiculous. So many things bugged me about this film, this is a small summary.    1. Everybody speaks in these whispered tones; annoying.    2. Nothing really happens, they just follow/watch/talk about car crashes and everybody has sex with each other.    3. Not one character in this movie was likeable. It's like a collection of weirdo's, each one a little more …
review by . June 04, 2007
"Crash" is a weird and original movie about something you probably don't see very often. Director David Cronenberg has made some weird movies in his career and I have to admit that I like most of them, find them entertaining. With 'Crash' it is hard to say what I really think. The movie itself is not bad, but its subject is people who get sexually aroused by car crashes. The car crashes could have been anything but if they were, let's say, flowers, the movie was not that weird and original and Cronenberg …
review by . April 13, 2007
I remember watching this movie when it came out about 10 years ago, and after seeing it again a few months ago, I draw the same conclusion. This movie IS REALLY BAD! I am not a prude and am not offended by sex, nudity, violence and gore. Crash features all of the former, so the question is why do I believe this movie is harebrained? The best answer I can give is how idiotic the entire premise is: A subculture of people who become erotically aroused by being involved in car crashes. I'll say it again, …
review by . October 19, 2005
David Cronenberg takes chances and his pushing the edge of cinematic art is what makes his films so interesting. JG Ballard's controversial novel CRASH seemed an unlikely prospect for a film, so dark were its explorations of the outer zones of excitation and their relationship to near-death events. But Cronenberg worked through making Ballard's visions visual and his screenplay based on Ballard's book is more about interior dialogue and visceral sexual encounters as they relate to trauma.    Jam …
review by . March 26, 2001
posted in Movie Hype
Crash has been derided for gratuitous sexuality and the lack of a conventional story arc. But beneath the "repelling" qualities is a compelling movie that sadly suffers from a few artistic excesses that hurt the experience. I'm a casual fan of Cronenberg's work, but Crash is definitely unusual and weirdly fascinating (and certainly disturbing at times). The amort color scheme (think noirish and dreamy) augments the passionless nature of the characters, who are deliberately acted with a lack of emotion, …
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Adapted from the controversial novel by J.G. Ballard,Crash will either repel or amaze you, with little or no room for a neutral reaction. The film is perfectly matched to the artistic and intellectual proclivities of director David Cronenberg, who has used the inspiration of Ballard's novel to create what critic Roger Ebert has described as "a dissection of the mechanics of pornography." Filmed with a metallic color scheme and a dominant tone of emotional detachment, the story focuses on a close-knit group of people who have developed a sexual fetish around the collision of automobiles. They use cars as a tool of arousal, in which orgasm is directly connected to death-defying temptations of fate at high speeds. Ballard wrote his book to illustrate the connections between sex and technology--the ultimate postmodern melding of flesh and machine--and Cronenberg takes this theme to the final frontier of sexual expression. Holly Hunter, James Spader, and Deborah Unger are utterly fearless in roles that few actors would dare to play, and their surrender to Cronenberg's vision makes Crash an utterly unique and challenging film experience. It's rated NC-17, so don't say you weren't warned!--Jeff Shannon
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Director: David Cronenberg
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Release Date: July 17, 1996
MPAA Rating: NC-17
Screen Writer: David Cronenberg
DVD Release Date: November 17, 1998
Runtime: 100 minutes
Studio: New Line Home Video, Telefilm Canada, Alliance Communcations Corporation
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