Saturday, February 25, 2012


No, it's not the overly preachy film about race relations which the motion picture academy made best picture.

It's the 1996 David Cronenberg film starring James Spader and Holly Hunter. This Crash focuses on a couple (James Spader and Deborah Kara Unger) who are trying to survive a slowly deteriorating marriage. A chance accident injures them both and draws them into an underground community composed of individuals who fetishize automobile accidents. Holly Hunter is the seasoned crasher who draws the couple in and helps them re-energize their sex lives.

As the couple becomes more deeply involved in the groups, the stakes start to raise. While the danger and excitement of car crashes renew the couple's sexuality, their exposure to increasingly intense sexual situations result in infidelity, amputation, and deliberately staging accidents. As the end approaches, this get disturbing fast.

Crash features difficult subject matter, intriguing visuals and non-traditional pacing. Fans of Cronenberg's work likely aren't surprised by these elements.

What is surprising about this film is how deeply it explores sexuality. At the film's beginning, Spader and Unger are a normal couple. Yet they're profoundly unhappy and sexually unsatisfied. The arousing excitement of car accidents fills a void in their lives and introduces them to darker parts of themselves that neither of them were willing to acknowledge.

Crash paints an interesting, if not entirely successful picture of human sexuality. Though not pleasant to watch, it is profoundly interesting.

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