The Vern reviews Canada’s version of Crash.

crash-1996-i-143716

Crash (1996)

Cast:  James Spader, Holly Hunter

Writers: J.G. Ballard (Novel)  David Cronenberg (Screenplay)

Director: David Cronenberg.


One of the most controversial films of the 90’s, David Cronenberg’sCrash“, was met with a lot of  backlash and heated debate when it first premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.  It’s based on the 1973 novel by J.G. Ballard (“Empire Of The Sun” Yes, the same one by Steven Speilberg).  This one told the tale of how one car accident’s victims became seduced by a group of  fetish thrill seekers who become sexually excited when they are involved in a crash.

Every character in this behaves like robots that have just come off the assembly line.  Devoid of any real emotion for anyone but themselves, they live just for the thrill of sexual release, but none of them have any understanding to actually enjoy it.  For them, the orgasm is just what they were programmed to do.  Almost like that was the end of their cycle.  Their involvement with the car crash is the closest thing they have to another being with something that has both steel and metal.  I know I may be way off with this analogy, but for me it, was like giving a group of Terminators a sex drive and sending them back in time.  They are more likely to get sexual enjoyment from a car crash than from each other.

Crash”  is meant to look very erotic and sexy, but nothing about this movie is actually meant to be that way. I feel that Mr. Cronenberg is doing a satire about sex and how it is used in most features.  This one removes any real feelings for the characters and just focuses on the sex itself.  The human body as described is nothing more than a series of mechanical parts, just like that of an automobile.  When a car collides with another, their bodies merge together.  When two people merge together, their bodies collide.  It doesn’t matter what kind of sex is happening, be it hetero or homo, because in the end it’s all just parts.

This is not something I expect anyone to like.  Hell, I don’t like it much either.  It’s very slow and the characters have no real motives, but after reading the book, I do respect it.  Cronenberg‘s adaptation is very close the source material.  The only thing that is different between the two is that the movie removes one of the character’s obsession with crashing into actress Elizabeth Taylor.   I really don’t think anyone is going to find the idea of crashing into cars to be attractive, but when you compare it to sex, sex becomes less impressive.

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About The Vern

I love movies and I enjoy writing about them too. They both go pretty much hand in hand with each other and it's fun to discover new classics. I co host the podcast The Film Pasture and As You Watch. While also contributing reviews and articles to other great sites when I can.
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12 Responses to The Vern reviews Canada’s version of Crash.

  1. ninvoid99 says:

    I love this film. It’s one of my favorite films by Cronenberg in terms of just how fucked up it is. It takes everything to the extreme and doesn’t apologize for it.

  2. The Vern says:

    It’s not my favorite film from him, but I do love the deliberate deadpan delivery from it’s characters in this. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. dbmoviesblog says:

    I found this film Ok, although definitely not Cronenberg’s best, in my opinion. What amazes me how less and less shocking the film becomes with the passage of years, as the society as a whole becomes more and more liberal and starts to embrace different kinds of sexual ‘fetishes’.

    • The Vern says:

      That is so true. I never thought of it, but yes it does make sense. If this was released today it would barely bat an eyelash. Thanks so much for the comments

  4. Vern, I have not watched this since it was first released and I stil recall how F’d up of a movie it was.

  5. Lindsay says:

    I’ll still probably see this in my quest to complete Cronenberg‘s filmography. Great write up!

  6. I actually quite liked this film. It actually grows on you the more you see it. Granted, it is definitely not a film I can recommend to most people. Regardless if it is on television (as it is often in Canada) I will stop and watch it.

  7. table9mutant says:

    Nice review, Vern! 🙂 Yeah… This wasn’t my favorite Cronenberg. But it’s pretty messed up, which I think we’ve all come to expect from him. 😉

  8. The Vern says:

    My favorite would have to be Videodrome and History of Violence(which seems like kind of a departure from his usual style , but still being of his)Thank you very much for reading.

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