Crash (1996) David Cronenberg

Production Budget: $10 million
Worldwide Gross: about $5 million

Based on a 1973 novel, we follow James (David Spader) and Catherine (Holly Hunter) who are a married couple whose sex life has tailed off.  They get into a car crash that kills the other driver and scars James and Catherine.  They soon after find out they are sexually aroused by the crash and find a small fetish group that re-enact car crashes from James Dean and Jayne Mansfield as a kind of car porn.  This movie was originally banned in the UK and obviously received critical backlash for its racy (no pun intended) content.  However in recent years its been called one of the best films of the 90’s and even one of the best films of all time.

You know, I guess I just didn’t catch the wave of this movie.  I guess the movie went a tad over my head.  I have heard people say its a movie about sexual obsession in general (and not just car porn) and others say its about the hollowness of modern life but honestly I really wasn’t that interested to care.  Yes, a movie about people getting their sexual kicks from crashing cars wasn’t interesting for me.  Its not so much the plot that wasn’t interesting, but everything else.  The whole movie is cold, lifeless and empty.  The characters are unlikable and banal and just mope around the screen.  Now you could argue that’s the whole bloody point of the story but you have to give me something to latch onto.  You can’t give me a two hour morality lecture with an uninteresting story and dull bastard main characters.  As one reviewer said, its like the movie wants to have its cake and eat it too.  It wants to be shocking and erotic and then it wants to slap us for being perverse.

But it all feels like Cronenberg is trying too hard to be abstract and arty for his own good.  For as exciting and taboo as the subject he is trying to present, the whole thing feels incredibly banal.  I know, I don’t understand the full genius at work here, Cronenberg is the master, and I am a hypocrite because I call this abstract yet I like Naked Lunch (although I can explain that because I have actually read William Burroughs).  I fully admit my ignorance and will simply say Crash did not do it for me.  Do I recommend this movie?  Hell no.  Watch Videodrome or Scanners or History of Violence or a few other Cronenberg movies first.


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