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Crash (1996)

NC-17 | | Drama | 21 March 1997 (USA)
After getting into a serious car accident, a TV director discovers an underground sub-culture of scarred, omnisexual car-crash victims who use car accidents and the raw sexual energy they produce to try to rejuvenate his sex life with his wife.

Director:

David Cronenberg

Writers:

J.G. Ballard (novel), David Cronenberg
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Popularity
2,550 ( 108)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
James Spader ... James Ballard
Holly Hunter ... Helen Remington
Elias Koteas ... Vaughan
Deborah Kara Unger ... Catherine Ballard
Rosanna Arquette ... Gabrielle
Peter MacNeill ... Colin Seagrave
Yolande Julian Yolande Julian ... Airport Hooker
Cheryl Swarts Cheryl Swarts ... Vera Seagrave
Judah Katz ... Salesman
Nicky Guadagni ... Tattooist
Ronn Sarosiak Ronn Sarosiak ... A.D.
Boyd Banks ... Grip
Markus Parilo Markus Parilo ... Man in Hanger
Alice Poon Alice Poon ... Camera Girl
John Stoneham Jr. ... Trask
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Storyline

Since a road accident left him with serious facial and bodily scarring, a former TV scientist has become obsessed by the marriage of motor-car technology with what he sees as the raw sexuality of car-crash victims. The scientist, along with a crash victim he has recently befriended, sets about performing a series of sexual acts in a variety of motor vehicles, either with other crash victims or with prostitutes whom they contort into the shape of trapped corpses. Ultimately, the scientist craves a suicidal union of blood, semen, and engine coolant, a union with which he becomes dangerously obsessed. Written by Matt A. Knapp <mak8@le.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Love in the dying moments of the twentieth century. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated NC-17 for numerous explicit sex scenes | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Canada

Language:

English | Swedish

Release Date:

21 March 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Crash: Extraños placeres See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$9,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$738,779, 23 March 1997

Gross USA:

$2,038,450
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (R-rated)

Sound Mix:

Dolby | SDDS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the United Kingdom, The Daily Mail newspaper led the calls for the film to be banned with a front page headline reading, "Ban This Car Crash Sex Film." To cover themselves against possible prosecution, the BBFC consulted a QC to determine whether the film contravened the Obscene Publications Act, a psychologist to see if it could potentially incite copycat behavior, and a group of disabled people to see if the character played by Rosanna Arquette would be considered offensive to them. After all three consultations proved to be successful, the BBFC were able to pass the full unrated version completely uncut. See more »

Goofs

After Vaughan repeatedly crashes the left front bumper of his Lincoln into a junker James Ballard is sitting in, causing major damage to the bumper and the lights, Vaughan is soon shown driving on the highway with no damage to the bumper and both left lights operational. See more »

Quotes

Vaughan: I've always wanted to drive a crashed car.
James Ballard: You could get your wish at any moment.
Vaughan: No, I mean a crashed car with a history. Camus' Facel Vega, Nathaniel West's station wagon, Grace Kelly's Rover 3500. Just fix it enough to get it rolling. Don't clean it, don't touch anything else.
See more »

Alternate Versions

A broadcast of the film on the Canadian cable network Showcase purported to be the uncut version of the film, but is missing at least one of the sex scenes. See more »

Connections

Edited into Final Cut: Ladies and Gentlemen (2012) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
The Orgasm of Burning Rubber.
13 March 2006 | by Yuto_ZeiramSee all my reviews

"How many orgasms per mile can you get ?" This is one of the catching tag lines of the movie "Crash". Again Cronenberg delivers a dive into human psychic, the world of dark obsession, and twisted fantasy's.

The plot:

A sexually frustrated couple starts experimenting with the outlines of anonymous sex. It is the husband James Ballard (James Spader) who gets into a car crash with Dr. Ellen Remington (Holly Hunter) and her husband. They crash frontally and both Ballard and Remington are seriously injured. Remington's husband dies while being launched from his seat through his own windshield into Ballards. Ballard ends up in the hospital, traumatized, trying to recover from his injuries. He gets into deeper contact with Helen Remington. Their mutual Crash-victim status brings them closer together, ultimately delivering them into the sump-oil-soaked world of the pathological Vaughan (Elias Koteas). Renegade scientist and leader of a strange subterranean group, Vaughan is only able to achieve sexual release by crashing into people on the motorways surrounding Heathrow airport. Getting sucked into his world, Ballard becomes obsessed with car crashes, and dives into the illegal world of "thrill seeking" and raw and hard (but mostly cold) sex.

The review:

To be quiet honest "Crash" is a very underestimated picture. First of all there are a serious amount of people who thought that the subject was laughable, and not to be taken serious, for how could you take something like this serious ?

After crashing your car and being injured, having sex with the victim of a car-crash ?

Apart from the post-traumatic stress that can appear after such an incident it also triggers a lot of adrenaline, which is almost a self produced drug. Cronenberg cuts a subject which is still very much of a taboo, the "thrill seeking taboo". You got a lot of so called thrill seekers now these days, which can result into ghost riding on the freeway, climbing on buildings without security etc. All in all the thrill seek element isn't that original.

This is where Cronenberg has looked for a thrill that rushes into a perverse sexual outburst. After the shock of crashing into a car, the adrenaline, the rush of the experience becomes so real, you feel so alive that you need to let it all out, which comes into the act of "making love". Cronenberg is trying to paint the audience a picture of an event like this.

Based on J.G. Ballards novel "Crash" which was quiet detached and cold, the director follows in style with the dark freeways of Canada, showing that even in your car you are not always save, and how a car can become the ultimate "drive" for pleasure. The problem with this film (like many others) is that it is so far out there that you either hate it or love it. The pacing is rather slow in the beginning and its hard to get into, if you don't understand the psychology that lies underneath the dialog. The movie has a solid script but the subject and material is not accessible for everybody. James Spader who often (he almost could be a stereotype) plays sexual frustrated protagonists ("Sex,Lies,and Videotapes", "Secretary", "Speaking of Sex") delivers a terrific performance here. His distant and alienated acting fits perfectly into the dark en and sensual story, and doesn't come as a insincere or "over the top". Some people felt that Koteas and Hunter performances where a little flat, but they have just the balance between low key and an over the top performance (Koteas more than Hunter). You got to keep in mind that these people are already deranged from the beginning. What you see is simply a drop falling into bucket that is overflowing.

The use of light and shadow is very subtle and excellently done by cinematographer Peter Suschitzky. He really knows how to pull you into a certain world, that LOOKS like ours but feels very different. In any case I can recommend the movie if you want to watch something different. A lot of people will not understand the weight this film carries, and therefore this movie will be underrated, or simply will be put aside as boring or unrealistic. THIS IS A MISTAKE,... don't put it away, watch it, and feel the awkwardness. The result ?

"Humans really are quiet weird creatures..."


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