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Overall Rating

Awesome: 22.35%
Worth A Look: 27.06%
Just Average: 1.18%
Pretty Crappy: 7.06%

6 reviews, 49 user ratings

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Crash (1997)
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by Slyder

"Sex, traffic accidents and car crash videotapes"
4 stars

Perhaps the most controversial and most misunderstood film of 1997, writer/director David Cronenbergís adaptation of JG Ballardís controversial 1973 novel Crash still holds well despite all these years if you manage to give it the patience and the thought that it demands. Itís not a film for everyone as hundreds of critics have divided their opinions to either a prophetic, scientific depiction of dehumanization via technology or shallow, disgusting, pornographic trash. I was pretty much expecting the latter, but ended up with the former, since this is one of those films that are just simply above the line of flotation, in other words, another film that makes you think.

TV commercial producer James Ballard (James Ballard) and his wife Catherine (Deborah Unger) are going right now through a bored state in their sex life in which they only get arousal by telling each otherís infidelities. That is until James driving one night back to the studio suffers a near-fatal head-on car crash, which also injures in the other car occupant Dr. Helen Remington and kills her husband. James though, feels something heís never felt before as he thinks about his car crash and how it affects his sexual feelings. With the aid of Dr. Remington, James as well as Catherine later on, is lured into the dark and bizarre underworld of former Traffic-controller-turned-crash-freak Vaughan (Elias Koteas) whom along his other followers including Gabrielle (Rosanna Arquette) get off and explore a possible link between the science of a car crash and sex, even at the expense of their own bodies whether imitating famous car crashes that took the lives of James Dean and Jayne Mansfield to their more personal bumps and smashes.

I honestly found this movie quite an interesting experience, due to the topics that it lays, as well as Cronenbergís metal-tinged production values, emotionless and gloomy atmosphere, and Howard Shoreís equally sterile and gloomy guitar-driven music (which in someway is somewhat reminiscent of Pink Floyd). Itís quite plain to see that this is not your ordinary average drama, much less your ordinary thinking manís film. Many critics that have dismissed the film for itís cold, shallow, sterile, and monotonous overtones, and its blatant sexual fetish are simply missing the point of the movie because that is exactly what the film is trying to say amidst all that. It could be easy for someone to dismiss the car crash violence and fetish sex present on this film yet turn his back and enjoy watching crap like Police Videos, or Cops or just about every film that contains guns and explosions, as well as watching sex filled shows (Sex in the City) or several soft-core porn films.

What makes it enduring especially in our times is how it presents a somewhat exaggerated but nevertheless accurate prophetic window at our society today, as we tend to see more and more today how movies and TV shows are feeding the masses up with violence and sex which are the two main driving forces nowadays as well as the most appealing in the entertainment industry, while leaving any other human values hung out to dry. The whole sterile shallowness of the film is pretty much one of the components in the dehumanization of an already decaying society, like Vaughan puts it: The reshaping of the human body by modern technology. Vaughan pretty much represents that type of view; only he takes it a step further. Heís the most interesting character of them all, even more so than the main character since he seems to be a sort of explosive catalyst for all the scenes in which he is involved, and pretty much the only person that knows what the hell is going on in the world. Since all the characters have lost any appeal to humanity and itís values and pretty much have turned into emotionless zombies, Vaughan helps them in obtaining emotional spikes whether sexual or violent or both in a physical way, either through car crashes, car crash demonstrations, crash tapes or having violent sadomasochistic sex (An example is the bed scene where James and Catherine appear more sexually charged when they fuck once Vaughan is mentioned, or when James and Catherine are driving up an empty road which suddenly becomes traffic-jammed once Vaughan shows up to rear-end them). And it couldnít be far from the truth since due to the ignorance and the stupidity of us human beings, and also due to the fact that all this shit is being fed to you via TV or the movie theater 24/7, it suddenly gives you the need of going out and try and feel it for yourself. No more you get aroused that easily by just watching it, you have to go to the extreme of experimenting it no matter if you even end up dead. Thatís the scary part, and as the years come and go, it ainít that far from the truth (Jackass imitators please stand up). But those are just the two main points; thereís more to the movie than just that which pretty much makes it a must see.

The only cons against this movie are itís own production values, the whole shallow emotionless atmosphere and the characters as well as its explicitness which will turn off several viewers and will test the patience of others, but as the saying goes, if you can see the forest behind the trees youíll be able to understand this movie more than what it appears to show you. Usually fans of Cronenberg will have almost no problems in digging this movie since he has immersed himself into these dark and mysterious waters before with classics like Dead Ringers, Videodrome, Naked Lunch and his remake of The Fly amongst others. Still, this piece despite its roughness is worthy of mention, even it isn't amongst Cronenbergís best work, since he did quite a job with a subject like this. The performances are very good, considering they have to act like blocks of wood, with Elias Koteas being the best of the bunch, followed closely by Holly Hunter whom has always been undeniably hot. James Spader has always surprised me by the roles he chooses, mostly about sexually charged situations, and he pulls them off quite great. Deborah Unger is also very good in a somewhat more shallower but equally important role.

In the end, if youíre one of the people that have strong moral or religious values but are basically ignorant in thinking outside of the bottle, this film is not for you. Itís quite a piece of work thatís in here, and despite the rough edges itís definitely worth the viewÖ if you think you can handle it. 3.5-5

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=299&reviewer=235
originally posted: 07/08/04 16:29:56
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User Comments

1/24/10 Chad Dillon Cooper Drive my car takes on a whole new meaning. 1 stars
7/14/09 blah blah i wish kara unger would speak dirty to me while i fucked her.lovely hairy snatch 4 stars
7/05/08 dan halberg why the hate? decent movie 4 stars
3/01/08 Ivana Mann Probably the riskiest, most audacious movie ever made.Simultaneously repellant & compelling 5 stars
2/22/07 David Pollastrini Porn pretending to be art! 2 stars
10/20/06 Pritchett Fuck all of you! Cronenberg has never made a bad film! 5 stars
9/11/06 Sepi53 awful piece of crap 1 stars
5/08/06 K. Sear Wonderful. My favourite Cronenburg to date. 5 stars
3/10/06 Karri genuine freakfest 1 stars
9/03/05 Le Hembe SteeLe Highly "striking". Cronenberg takes no "backseat". dues ex machina! 4 stars
6/15/05 Naruto Piece of shit. Cronenberg should be executed for such crap 1 stars
1/19/05 Aaron van de sande compulsions (like pornography) are frightneningly detached.what did you expect? 5 stars
10/05/04 Jackie Saw *3* Xs b/f I *got* it. Only time char. are 'involved' is in a crash. Interesting idea. 4 stars
8/16/04 Herolder Well, not a film for everybody, but I loved it 5 stars
7/11/04 L.H Erotically fascinating, however, horrifyingly unrealistic 4 stars
6/07/04 Ryan Clark Cronenberg's worst: it's bizarre and kinky, but unfortunately uninvolving. 2 stars
4/14/04 Ingo Usual Cronenberg, which is always a treat. But not his best. 4 stars
12/25/03 ROY L. CAIN,JR. KINKY AS HELL. Great fucking , er I mean performances, from all! 5 stars
7/16/03 Fred Thumbs for the master of car crashes. 5 stars
7/08/03 natasha_theobald disturbing, hypnotic -- not for all tastes, but the cast is uniquely watchable 4 stars
3/19/03 Jack Sommersby Never manages to cross over and involve us in the characters. Cold, impersonal film. 2 stars
12/30/02 Fonq35 If the people involved in this film were burning to death, I wouldn't even piss on 'em 1 stars
10/14/02 Ken WTF? I"d rather eat my own eyeballs than watch that again. 1 stars
10/07/02 Mark Singer Beautiful to watch, and absolutely loathsome. DeSade would be proud. 5 stars
7/27/02 Charles Tatum Softcore porn dressed up with celebrities 2 stars
7/21/02 Zargo my first "sucks all ass" and it sure does deserve it 1 stars
4/02/02 Edfink Lombardo Uninspired sex scenes...The contraversy was more interesting than the film itself 1 stars
9/02/01 The-Dude cronenbergs worst film 1 stars
3/10/01 mad hatter This movie is awful. Nothing but a bad porn with car wrecks. 1 stars
12/07/00 Cristopher Revilla Hey, A Clockwork Orange is 100 times better than this shitbag 1 stars
11/16/00 D.C. Carnahan Good pit action. 5 stars
10/31/00 Damion Cain Worst movie I have ever seen in my life. 1 stars
10/14/00 Kathy Undeemable, empty people who fill their lives with ugliness 1 stars
8/15/00 Terrie Smith A boring film about boring people. Only Cronenberg could get away with making it. 2 stars
1/09/00 Will Other than the titty shots, this is worthless. 1 stars
12/01/99 Matt Thiel If you think this piece of shit is better than Lost World or ID4 you are a fucking idiot. 1 stars
10/04/99 Bozo movie had a real 'feel' to it, and i was drawn in. the book was way better, tho. 4 stars
9/30/99 John Roberson "I find this very fascinating. I'm not sure why." 4 stars
9/15/99 David Olson One of the best of the decade. A Clockwork Orange for the 90's 5 stars
5/07/99 BraveFan One of my least favorite films I have ever seen. Read: waste of film stock. 1 stars
2/02/99 James E. Laczkowski Very audacious and cold. A reflection of our increasing dependence on technology. 4 stars
1/26/99 Bishop Johnson Is Spader not the man? Erie, yet great film! 5 stars
11/26/98 Mr.Pink Now, that is sex in the '90's for ya!!!! 5 stars
11/25/98 Justin Excellant movie. It's very intriguing. One of the most unique films of the 90's. 5 stars
11/23/98 Annu Bannu Ballard & Cronenburg Great - but I'd Rather watch good Porn Forget this one!! 1 stars
11/17/98 Jules I kinda liked it 4 stars
11/04/98 Bad Kosh Sex and car crashes, now that's totally screwed up. God, I need a drink. 1 stars
10/24/98 Lord Of The Dunce What is it about Canuck movies where they have to involve a kink? 2 stars
8/18/98 {{{OZ}}} A film about people who can only get off when having sex in a car crash. Nothing new. 3 stars
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  21-Mar-1997 (NC-17)



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