Critics Consensus

Despite the surprisingly distant, clinical direction, Crash's explicit premise and sex is classic Cronenberg territory.



Total Count: 51


Audience Score

User Ratings: 56,135
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Crash Photos

Movie Info

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, Rovi


James Spader
as James Ballard
Holly Hunter
as Dr. Helen Remington
Elias Koteas
as Vaughan
Peter MacNeill
as Colin Seagrave
Deborah Kara Unger
as Catherine Ballard

Critic Reviews for Crash

All Critics (51) | Top Critics (11) | Fresh (30) | Rotten (21)

  • For a movie obsessed with the connection between sexual intercourse and car accidents, David Cronenberg's Crash could hardly be more stationary.

    Apr 4, 2011 | Rating: C- | Full Review…
  • While the director remains firmly behind the wheel for the first hour or so, he cracks up toward the end with sequences that send the film and the audience into a ditch.

    Sep 9, 2008

    Todd McCarthy

    Top Critic
  • It's a dark, disturbing, languorous movie, as ludicrous, hermetic and repetitive, perhaps, as Ballard's original, but admirably assured and true to itself.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Geoff Andrew

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Mr. Cronenberg, for once oddly inhibited by brazen subject matter, has made a meticulously stylized and controlled film that leaves many of its characters' ideas muffled and lacks the true audacity its material demands.

    May 20, 2003 | Rating: 2.5/5
  • "Crash" doesn't extend beyond its most immediate sensationalism. When the movie does attempt to find a theme, it slams into a brick wall of mumbo-jumbo.

    Jan 22, 2002 | Full Review…
  • So far from being involving or compelling, so intentionally disconnected from any kind of recognizable emotion, that by comparison David Lynch's removed "Lost Highway" plays like "Lassie Come Home."

    Feb 14, 2001 | Rating: 1.5/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Crash

  • Sep 28, 2015
    Crash is a film I do not have many good things to say about and yet still cannot downrate it because I do like the cast and always enjoy the signature Cronenberg material sensuality that conveys highly distinct tactile sensations via light and sound. That said, Crash is a boring movie and not so much edgy as something to be endured. Crash does not feel cool or adventurous and yet most of the film is action; it is like a pornographic movie -- not much plot but just goes through different scenarios, yet does not feel sexy and so does not create tension. The vibe is corrupt, uncool, and dystopic like a glam rock band playing in the mid 90s to a bored audience in a half-filled stadium that needs to be torn down. They smash their gear and we can only think that it was not worth it, what a waste. I would like to think this was all intentional, because I like other Cronenberg films, but cannot really recommend it except to the curious ones that want to see something different.
    Robert B Super Reviewer
  • Feb 01, 2015
    A perversely disturbing and highly uncomfortable film that bursts with overwhelming sexual intensity as the characters engage in a compulsive fetishistic psychopathology that is strangely telling, even if it will probably leave most viewers repelled and make them never want to see it again.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Jun 24, 2013
    The "original" crash is pure Cronenberg..a mess that sometimes works but sometimes gets wrapped up in its own insanity. This one somehow stays on the line between..sometimes being quite effective and other times going off the rails.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Aug 25, 2012
    I am literally scared by the graphic representation of sexual fetishes in the film. Intense but well done performances from everyone. Not too sure about the meaning of this film but it has some intense ideas about sex. I enjoyed the references to the famous crashes, but that's about it.
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer

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