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3.4 out of 5 stars
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3.4 out of 5 stars
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on 4 March 2017
Firstly, The DVD quality and delivery time were first-rate.
Film - not a triumph, this one. Emotionally I failed to connect, mainly because nothing rang true there. Narrative seemed forced and disjointed, actors aloof, multiple sex scenes grotesque and unnecessary. No "pull of the dark side " at any point. I'm a J.G. Ballard fan and I think that all of his dark poetic imagery was lost in the process.. A remake is well due. Just think along the lines of "American Psycho" meets " Night crawler" with conspiracy thriller elements thrown in.:)
P.S.- one redeeming feature is the great music score by Howard Shore.
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on 23 April 2017
This film wasnt as good as I remember, saw it many years ago. Now it was ok but slow and boring in some parts. If you like cronenberg I think you should see it, its very much his style.
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on 26 April 2017
Love James Spader. But a boring film
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on 19 February 2008
Not to be confused with this years Oscar winning sensation, you can't help but conclude that Crash 2005 must be referencing its older namesake with the opening dialogue... "We're always behind this metal and glass. I think we miss that touch so much that we crash into each other just so we can feel something." Crash 2005 is a blockbuster on the controversial subject of racial tensions in Los Angeles.
Crash 1996 was just plain... controversial.

A decade ago the British press ran a series of front page appeals for governmental pressure to ban a new film which they'd described as "Beyond the bounds of depravity."
The 1973 J.G Ballard novel, on which the film is based, had long been a favourite of mine but as the controversy raged on throughout the summer of `96' it became apparent that the film may never be shown in the U.K. Crash had already been released in France, so by the time this idiocy hit the point where an audience of paraplegics were invited for a special screening to see if they were offended or not, I had no choice but to leave for Paris where exactly one year later Ballard's `cautionary tale' of car crash celebrity deaths would reach an apotheosis of sorts in an underpass at the Pont D'Alma.

Described by its author as "the first pornographic novel about technology" the book is about a group of car crash survivors who, led by deranged T.V scientist Vaughn, see the car crash as a new form of sexual perversion. Vaughn's ultimate fantasy is to die in a head-on collision with the actress Elizabeth Taylor who, throughout the 60's and 70's was the Princess Diana of her day; constantly hounded by the press and ultimately crucified on the beam of her own celebrity.

The film adaptation, directed by David Cronenberg, avoids the heavy traffic of `serial bride' Liz's potential legititive clout and instead becomes `a futuristic love story set in the present'. James (James Spader) and Catherine (Deborah Kara-Ungar) are a married couple so filled with inertia that they are desperate for some emotional connection by any means necessary. After a series of extramarital encounters they find themselves attracted to a group of disturbed members of a bizarre car-crash sect who enact famous car crashes for kicks. The pair soon find themselves willing accomplices in a tableaux of violence and desire until finally they attain some provisional approximation of actual love.
Kara-Ungar's portrayal of Catherine exemplifies perfectly the icy detachment of a woman who appears to be observing herself from another galaxy. Unfortunately, the film hinges on a moment where the groups leader Vaughn, played by Elias Koteus who explains his philosophy of auto-geddon as a fertilising event rather than a destructive one to his disciple James. Koteus' delivery is addled and Spader (understandably) laughs; blowing the scene and almost the entire film with it.

Nevertheless Crash is, above all, a brave attempt to explore an almost un-bearable subject - the death of affect and our unconscious desire for violence. As we're bombarded with pseudo-events and war entertainment - designed to make us consume in ways that are of optimum benefit to multi-national conglomerates who really (forget governments) walk where the power is - Cronenberg's Crash is as much a road sign warning of our impending emotional bankruptcy as it is to the sexual ambiguity of the highway pile up.
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Based on J. G. Ballard's novel, this film by David Cronenberg seems also to refer back to writers like Sade and Bataille who tried to get to the heart of the erotic and catalogue its expressions which fall outside what people normally experience, or have thought about. A link between sex and death was hypothesised by these writers; Freud seems to locate them at opposite ends of the spectrum, the sex drive being essentially all about life; this makes me suspicious of what Ballard and Cronenberg are doing. It's as though sexuality has become totally unhinged from anything sexual, but then re-sexualised by other means - fetishistic clothing, the idea of encounters in public, or in strange locations. I suppose the bumper cars aspect could be seen as a sexual power game. Crash doesn't theorise at all, but brings sex and high risk together in as dramatic a way as possible. A group of characters all share the compulsion to stage car crashes and have sex in the wreckage; essentially heterosexual, but also taking in same-sex encounters. This aspect is interesting in that you might think the experiences would be entirely depersonalised, but they don't seem to be. The car represents a fetishistic interest in other ways - the leatherette seats, the squelching of the car wash, the wipers over the windscreen, the metal against flesh, the buckling of bent metal and the danger of its severed edges for naked skin. Also the sense of being closed in, which at one point in the narrative is used to suggest the car as a shelter from the world, as a character curls up on the back seat to go to sleep.

The acting in the film is uniformly excellent; James Spader is perfect, as always, in sex-themed films, with his look of candour and vulnerability, suggesting curiosity at the same time. Deborah Kara Unger is amazingly beautiful, as is Elias Koteas, here given scars that have a disturbing effect. We first see him presenting a staging of a car crash involving James Dean, using the microphone as he does in Atom Egoyan's Exotica, where he plays the MC in a club. The effect has a similar sensuality, and he effortlessly conveys a character completely on the edge. Film is ideal as a medium to suggest the deranged and tactile elements that are so much to the fore here, aided by a fantastically unsettling score by Howard Shore that sounds like certain music by Nick Cave. It is not an easy or comforting film in any sense; indeed it is quite glacial, but with a unique, visionary quality that compels attention, even if one might question whether the whole project isn't all about the imagination and very little about anything real.
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on 20 April 2004
I didn't know what to expect from previous reviews of this film, but I was pleasantly surprised. I was most impressed by the daring of the actors involved. In fact I think fans of James Spader won't be disappointed. This is a typical James Spader movie in which he plays a stereotypical cold and aloof James Spader (but that's why we like him). How many recognizable male Hollywood actors would put their carefully constructed image on the line by engaging in an erotic scene with another male actor? Not many. But fortunatley for us Spader doesn't put commercial limits on the parts he chooses to take.
Bisexuality seems to be a recurrent theme amongst Cronrnberg's most recent movies i.e. 'Dead Ringers', 'Naked Lunch' and 'Madame Butterfly'. It's an acknowledgement of that perennial Cronenberg theme, the dominance of the physical over the mental. The characters give free rein to their desires unburdened of society's restrictive mores and conventions. Their criteria for indulging in these rather eccentric pleasures is whether it excites them or not, society's prejudiced definitions of right and wrong don't enter the equation.
As for the idea that [adult relations] and cars go together, this has always been prevelant in our culture, "fast cars, fast women" as the saying goes. The thrill of stepping on the gas has conveyed an orgasmic high in countless films, books and songs. The auto industry readily endorses it if it can sell more cars.
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on 28 February 2014
David Cronenberg has always been a challenging director but, in this film, there is little to focus on. The sexual stimulation of creating car crashes with its attendant excitement transferred to orgiastic sex sessions stretched credibility. What was left were depictions of voyeurism,sado-masochism and complete detachment from its participants.

Much was made in the film of crippling injuries as the off-the-wall characters crashed their cars and bodies into each other,possibly to achieve the ultimate orgasmic death. The film's final words perhaps confirm this. The obsession with sex and death is not new either in life or in the cinema (e.g.' In the Realm of the Senses') and whilst Mr. Cronenberg gives his audiences a beautifully-edited helter-skelter ride to the depths of human sexuality, he is saying nothing new.

It was a gripping,uncomfortable film, well-presented and acted but, in the end, ultimately vacuous.
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Cronenburg always has a serious point to make in his films, and there's no point watching this film unless you are prepared to examine the reasons for making the film.
The film is set in the near future where society has enveloped itself with technology; the characters are made safe from any danger by this, but find themselves almost instinctively bored; they have a jaded attitude towards most things, and they seek refuge from the pervasive torpor that surrounds them by seeking thrills in more and more extreme ways, leading to the now-infamous car crash fetishism scenes; they derive a sense of being alive by experiencing the few seconds of mayhem that occur during the impact of vehicles.
So this film examines the need for danger and excitement in peoples' lives; forget the fuss caused by the censors back when it was released - this film is way above the level of 'pornography', as I believe Alexander Walker of'The Daily Mail' described it.
If you're prepared to make a leap in how you think about things at a basic level, then try this film; it's not perfect, but it's got something to say...
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on 31 March 2010
I had read several of the books written by JG Ballard. He is a thought provoking author who can be relied upon not to fall into the trap of writing to a formula. Crash is one such novel. I had seen the film some years ago and following reading the novel decided to purchase the DVD. I must confess to enjoying performances by James Spader. His projection of urbanity in the face of situations which would provoke displays of emotion in any other actor, is masterful. The content of the film is designed to invoke interest, disgust or plain fascination, perhaps all three at the same time.
It is not a film for everybody and the subject matter would put some people off. The sex scenes were erotic and without them the story and the film would lose much of the impact. An adult film for adults. A fine example of jaded extremism.
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on 21 September 2014
I like a good quirky film, but this film is really bad....
The plot (what little there is) is paper thin, and just used as a way to string one random sex scenes together.
Im not a prude, nor do I disapprove of sex in films, but this whole film just plays out like a very avant garde porn film!
After a while the whole 'shock value' of the film itself starts to become meaningless, even a little funny and ridicoulous in places
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