In a death-obsessed, technology laden, and increasingly disconnected world, how do you derive pleasure? If you’re to follow the path of this film, you slam cars into one another as part of proxy sex.
Cronenberg is one of a rare collection of directors: almost utterly uncommercial, but still a respected and solid filmmaker. He fears no boundaries and he can command incredible casts to do outrageous things comfortably. The main cast of Crash, with the exception of Unger at the time, is loaded with actors whose stars were already rising or who were known: Spader, Hunter, Koteas, and Arquette.
The newest release of this film offers the original NC-17 version as an option. And it most definitely belongs in that category, however much I think the MPAA is blight upon the world of cinema. Despite the conceit of the story, that rating is almost entirely due to the amount of skin and sex… the level of violence is less than you see on most TV shows these days. Even the sex is only mostly implied, though Cronenberg manages to make it feel uncomfortably like pornography.
This film is definitely not for everyone. I’m not even sure it was for me, but I am fascinated by Cronenberg’s vision and ability. This film originally released when I was in transit between homes, oddly enough, and so I missed it till now. I can’t say it is my favorite of his, which is still toss-up between The Fly and Naked Lunch, but getting to see this cast much earlier in their careers along with Cronenberg’s twisted world view was not a waste of my time. Your mileage may vary.