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Film producer James Ballard (James Spader) and his wife, Catherine (Deborah Kara Unger), are in an open marriage. The couple engage in various trysts but, between them, have unenthusiastic sex. Their arousal is heightened by discussing the intimate details of their extramarital sex. She recounts sex that day with a stranger in a prop plane hangar, where she caresses the plane hull with her bare breast. She was left unsatisfied however. When Ballard replies he did not achieve satisfaction with his office sexual encounter that day, as he was interrupted, his wife replies "maybe the next one". While driving home from work late one night, Ballard's car collides head-on with another, killing its male passenger. While trapped in the fused wreckage, the driver, Dr. Helen Remington (Holly Hunter), wife of the dead passenger, exposes a breast to Ballard when she pulls off the shoulder harness of her seat belt. While recovering, Ballard meets Remington again, as well as a man named Vaughan (Elias Koteas), who takes a keen interest in the brace holding Ballard's shattered leg together and photographs it. While leaving the hospital, Remington and Ballard begin an affair, one primarily fueled by their shared experience of the car crash. In an attempt to make some sense of why they are so aroused by their car wreck, they go to see one of Vaughan's cult meetings/performance pieces, a re-creation of the car crash that killed James Dean with authentic cars and stunt drivers. When Department of Transport officials break up the event, Ballard flees with Remington and Vaughan to their underworld. Eventually Ballard becomes dangerously obsessed with sexual encounters and cars...
In his contemporary review, Roger Ebert gave the film 3.5 out of 4 stars, writing: "Crash" is about characters entranced by a sexual fetish that, in fact, no one has. Cronenberg has made a movie that is pornographic in form, but not in result... [Crash is] like a porno movie made by a computer: It downloads gigabytes of information about sex, it discovers our love affair with cars, and it combines them in a mistaken algorithm. The result is challenging, courageous and original—a dissection of the mechanics of pornography. I admired it, although I cannot say I "liked" it. BBC film critic Mark Kermode has described Crash as "pretty much perfect" and praised Howard Shore's score, while admitting that it's a "hard film to like" and describing the cast's performances as "glacial".
David Cronenberg´s psychological thriller "Crash" based on J.G. Ballard´s 1973 strange novel, fits the director that´s a fact. The film generated considerable controversy upon its release and opened to mixed and highly divergent reactions from critics. While some praised the film for its daring premise and originality, others criticized its combination of graphic sexuality and violence. It premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, where it received the Special Jury Prize, a unique award that is distinct from the Jury Prize as it is not given annually, but only at the request of the official jury (for example, the previous year, both a Jury Prize and a Special Jury Prize were awarded). When then jury president Francis Ford Coppola announced the award "for originality, for daring and for audacity," he stated that it had been a controversial choice and that certain jury members, "did abstain very passionately." However, the dreamlike, traumatized and zombielike reality we are shown with cars and sexual encounters in the focus, is not that exciting due to the fact that everything is skewed from characters to story in my opinion. It doesn´t feel "real", it feels like you are watching an alternative realm and world that inhabits people that have lost all emotions making it a film it´s hard to connect to. And I think the film feels a bit random in the scene structure, it doesn´t connect the dots. Yes, the subject matter is for sure strange, but that´s not the problem to my mind, but there´s other problems that just makes me give it at 3 in my rating. I saw it when it came out, but I can´t remember my opinion then, but today I can´t say it made me wanting to keep the film in my collection.
weird, even for Cronenberg
but pretty cool
Wow. This movie was depraved, dark and all-together unnecessary. Yet quality actors somehow agreed to partake in its making. Hard to believe. This movie is built on such an outlandish premise so as to make it intriguing on one level yet darkly disturbing on every other level.
This movie is too sophisticated even for this Rotten Tomatoes clique, members of which consider themselves critics. A perfect choice for a St. Valentine viewing if you ask me.
When I saw this movie years ago I remember being indifferent towards it. I didn't like or hate it. I remember it though. So Cronenberg created memorable images. The story was rather dull. I don't remember that.
bizarre film about freaks who get turned on by car crashes. alot of sex and alot of cars crashing. weird but cool i guess, personally i dont enjoy car crashes
This is not an easy story to put on the screen, and should maybe be left that way. The film is cheap and shallow, with no depth and no explanation in any form as to what its about. After 30 minutes, the film loses direction and loses your attention. If you like getting off on dull celeb sex scenes for over 90 minutes, then this is for you.
As much as I could not look away from this film - like gawking at a highway accident - its intriguing, fascinating, even titillating at the same time as the rational side of your brain screams What are you looking for AND what do you expect to see-?!
There is a wild, yet consistent quality of acting - solid actors poured into risky, creepy, volatile, and twisted roles. Warped minds enjoying their specific fetish without concern for life or limb, frankly. And yet its completely empty and void of explaining why. That's the part that leaves the audience cold, and as empty and unsatisfied as their fetishes leave them.
Very unsettling to think about..
Altho I can appreciate the acting somewhat, the threat of violence pushes the creep factor off the charts. But then nothing really happens.
And no understanding, And it's nothing more than fake torture porn. It could have been so much more interesting, but no.
By the end, you kinda want the police to catch them to find out why, but also just to make them stop.
So for all the nonsense and threat, I'll say this.
Be careful here, you can't un-watch a car accident nor its creepy aftermath.
2.5 out of 5 broken psychological headlights
I can see why this is most divisive David Cronenberg film, its not for everyone but very sexually provocative.
David Cronenberg's attempts to adapt-the-unadaptable and bring it to the big screen have never been quite so bold as Crash.
This myth-riddled adaptation of J.G Ballard's novel is a psychosexual chiller with a distinctly Cronenbergian taste - and its all the better for it, too.
Crash's high-concept horrors take time to take seriously. It's a daring film characterised by bizarre fusions and covert perversions, but Cronenberg shows us all we need to see in order to fear, yet understand, the psyche of his scarred subjects.
All at once disgusting and intrusive, yet distanced and reflective, Crash is a mind-bender prepared to flex further than most would ever be willing to go.