Based on the 1973 novel by J. G. Ballard. James and Catherine Ballard are a married couple whose sex life has been reduced to recounting tales of mutual infidelity to turn each other on. One night, James causes a head-on collision with a car carrying Dr. Helen Remington, killing her husband and severely injuring her and himself. Subsequent encounters with each other find that they are oddly sexually aroused by the danger of car accidents and potential accidents, and, with Catherine, soon fall in with a cult of car crash fetishists. The group is led by Vaughan, a former scientist twisted by his own disfigurement in an accident, and, as a result, a man obsessed with car crashes as a liberation of sexual energy. Vaughan inducts the Ballards and Dr. Remington into his surreal world of sex in the back seats of cars, re-enactments of famous car crashes (i.e. James Dean and Jayne Mansfield), viewing photos of accident victims and screenings of collision videos as pornography, and fender benders as mating rituals.
James Spader....James Ballard
Holly Hunter....Helen Remington
Deborah Unger....Catherine Ballard (as Deborah Kara Unger)
Peter MacNeill....Colin Seagrave
Yolande Julian....Airport Hooker
Cheryl Swarts....Vera Seagrave
This is Cronemberg through and through; repulsive yet beautiful, weird and wonderful in only a way only he seems capable of acheiving. This is very much a presentation of the psychological condition of the characters involved, a seemingly dark drama, but very much a horror film at the same time. It's a very complex and brilliantly crafted films, that seems to get an unworthy amount of bad press, who, I would assume, simply find this film repulsive and cold.
"In Crash, we are observing a group of characters who are all survivors of horrific car crashes. Like many crash survivors, they are, during their period of recovery, in shock. They are badly shaken. They are recovering from severe physical injuries, and they are disoriented, fearful, and emotionally numb.
Instead of recovering in the normal fashion, (how sad that we've come to think of auto accidents as normal) these characters stumble into the car crash cult of Vaughan. Vaughan, who is brilliantly portrayed by Elias Koteas, is a scientist who believes that there is a strong connection between the violence of a car crash and the passion of the sexual act.
He easily indoctrinates the other characters into his mode of behavior and beliefs. By staging car crashes for entertainment, by initiating traffic altercations with his followers and ultimately finishing with some very warped sex, usually involving cars, there is a metaphor being created. Accidents, and the viewing of them becomes foreplay. It's the eroticism of the automobile taken to an extreme.
Our society has had, what is often referred to as a "love affair" with the automobile. This love affair has resulted in a worldwide addiction to a means of transportation that is, in reality, often very unhealthy and destructive. Aside from the aftermath of pollution and the sheer carnage of the ever rising highway accident rate, this addiction also increases people's isolation from each other. Hidden in their private shells, they move about, only interacting with one another as necessary. This interaction rarely becomes intimate until it is violent, as in aggressive driving and accidents .
In Crash, the characters are all portrayed as cold hearted, numb, and incapable of true intimacy with each other(they sure have a lot of sex though). They are only capable of intimacy through their cars.
This film is a bizarre metaphor for the human condition and how it is affected by our choice of technology. It is not meant to make car crashes look sexy. It is meant to draw attention to how our most familiar technology has changed us and made us less human."
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