Crash (1996)

Sexy, sexy metal.

Sexy, sexy metal.

Ah, my old friend Crash. The first time I watched this movie, I hated it. Deeply. The second time it didn’t fare much better, and it’s not even entirely James Spader’s or Holly Hunter’s fault.

James Ballard (Spader) is a horny tv director. He gets into a car crash, and he and his horny wife are turned on by the twisted metal and resulting scars. Ballard falls in with a crew of other people obsessed with car crashes, including the woman involved in his initial crash. They all hang out and diddle each-other while watching crash-test dummy footage on TV.

My favorite character, Vaughan (Elias Koteas), stages reenactments of famous car crashes, such as James Dean’s and Jayne Mansfield’s. He pulls Ballard and his wife deeper

Vaughan takes this very seriously.

Vaughan takes this very seriously.

into this weird world of perverted car sex, staging fake car accidents on the road that end up being very successful, indeed.

Ugh, no thank you. I was informed my synoposis of “perverts fucking in cars” was too reductive; that I was missing the point. I’m sure that’s true, and maybe my gut-reaction of disgust means the film is ultimately successful. If Crash is about a world where everything is so far removed from reality, humanity, and emotion, then perhaps alienation and discomfort is precisely what I’m supposed to feel. In that case, bravo, Mr. Cronenberg!


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