Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Another lost review brought to light. This time, it's for Crash, the 1996 film directed by David Cronenberg (not the 2004 film of the same name.)

James and Catherine Ballard are involved in what could charitably be called an “open” marriage. Each of them have multiple affairs and share the details of these affairs freely with eachother. At the film’s beginning, the viewer gathers that both are growing dissatisfied with this situation. And then James Ballard gets in an automobile accident.

While recovering in the hospital, James is approached by members of a secret society of car crash fetishists. Dr. Helen Remington is the other survivor of James’ accident, who sees the accident as a natural extension of her fetish for having sex in cars. Vaughan is the de facto leader of the group, orchestrating re-creations of famous car crashes (such as James Dean and Jayne Mansfield) and spouting increasingly strange theories (such as re-interpreting the Kennedy assassination as a traffic accident). Gabriella is a sort of fetishized car crash victim, dressed in black lace and fishnet stockings beneath her steel leg braces and form-fitting back brace.

The sexualization of automobile accidents is presented as a mixture of sadism, masochism, exhibitionism, voyeurism and the end result of a thousand advertising campaigns that equate cars with sexual prowess. None of the characters come across as spiritually or emotionally mature and the car crashes seem to fill an emptiness that exists in each of them. The viewer is not particularly moved to care about any of the individual characters in Crash; but simply watches to see how much further each of them will go. It is an extremely graphic and tragic story that we watch simply because we can’t help but be curious ... much like a car crash.

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