4K Ultra HD Review – Crash (1996)

Crash, 1996.

Directed by David Cronenberg.
Starring James Spader, Holly Hunter, Elias Koteas, Deborah Kara Unger, Rosanna Arquette, and Peter MacNeill.



A pair trying to boost their intercourse life uncover an underground cult of automobile crash victims who get sexual thrills out of highway site visitors accidents.


A well timed launch on condition that Brandon Cronenberg’s elegant Possessor has hit digital platforms to optimistic evaluations this month, with Arrow Video have delving into his father’s again catalogue so as to add David Cronenberg’s controversial 1996 film Crash to their ever-growing roster of 4K UHD releases.

Like with most movies made by a Cronenberg the plot, when written down, appears to be one thing of – on the very least – an oddity or on the different finish of the spectrum, the workings of a deranged genius. Crash very a lot falls into the latter class and, regardless of being primarily based on the transgressive novel by J.G. Ballard, has David Cronenberg’s fingerprints throughout it, from the twisted perversions of its lead characters and the coldness of the performances by to the matter-of-fact manner the story unfolds and, in fact, the usage of the automobiles themselves (David Cronenberg is a motorsport fanatic).


And what’s this plot? Effectively, James Ballard (James Spader – Wall Road/Fairly in Pink) is a movie producer in an open marriage together with his spouse Catherine (Deborah Kara Unger – Payback), however neither particular person appears to get the satisfaction they crave. Nonetheless, all of that modifications when James is concerned in a automobile accident, killing the driving force of the opposite automobile and injuring the passenger, his spouse Helen (Holly Hunter – Batman vs. Superman: Daybreak of Justice). While James and Helen are each recovering in hospital they meet photographer Vaughn (Elias Koteas – The Skinny Crimson Line), who takes an curiosity of their accidents, and after they go away the hospital they begin an affair, fuelled by their shared expertise within the crash and by being in automobiles themselves.

It additionally seems that Vaughn has a peculiar fetish for automobiles, automobile accidents and the victims as he hosts common re-enactments of celeb automobile crashes utilizing stunt drivers and actors, these reveals bringing James, Helen and Catherine into contact with a number of individuals who share this kink and earlier than lengthy Ballard is a full-on follower of Vaughn and his cult-like philosophies, main himself and Catherine in the direction of the inevitable sexual excessive that they’ve been craving.


So sure, Crash has David Cronenberg throughout it due to its depictions of intercourse and violence, bodily scarification and the treating of weird infatuations as in the event that they had been completely regular. At one level Vaughn reveals that he’s inquisitive about ‘reshaping of the human physique by trendy know-how’ and that’s one thing that might apply to a number of totally different David Cronenberg motion pictures – most notably Videodrome – however Crash just isn’t physique horror in the identical manner as his ‘80s movies depict it. The physique horror right here is much less concerning the gore or the piercing of the physique however extra concerning the stimulation of the physique and the thoughts by the equipment of the automobile working with the physique, virtually like it’s David Cronenberg utilizing know-how as pornography.

Naturally, all of this intercourse and despicable behaviour comes at a value and Crash had the honour of being jeered and booed at throughout its screening on the Cannes Movie Pageant, in addition to being banned by quite a few native authorities the world over. In fact, these kinds of receptions solely serve to bolster the film’s popularity and though Crash does have its flaws – most notably in its performances – you’ll be able to’t come away from it and say you weren’t moved by it; whether or not it’s a optimistic response is a matter to your personal conscience however, if nothing else, it does make you consider it lengthy after the credit have rolled.


The improved 4K picture is, for probably the most half, very crisp and detailed. It sometimes will get somewhat fuzzy across the edges throughout inside scenes when the actors’ faces are in close-up however on the entire Crash appears very clear and detailed in the course of the automobile chases, crashes and harm pictures. Regardless of it not being a vibrant movie the small particulars such because the lights on the automobiles are fairly vibrant in opposition to the deep blacks and shadowy greys of the highways and spotlight the wonderful lighting work of DOP Peter Suschitzky. Extras embody model new interviews with Peter Suschitzky, composer Howard Shore, govt producer Jeremy Thomas and casting director Deirdre Bowen, an audio commentary with movie scholar Adrian Martin, current(ish) Q&A classes with David Cronenberg and quite a lot of alumni (together with Viggo Mortensen), video essays, archival behind the scenes footage, two quick movies impressed by J.G. Ballard’s works and two very odd David Cronenberg quick movies that hardcore followers will little question wish to personal on disc.

Twenty-four years on Crash nonetheless manages to carry onto its energy and its mystique. It isn’t a movie you’ll be able to say you want, neither is it a movie you can truthfully say is nice, however the truth that it exists and nonetheless manages to ruffle feathers is sufficient for it to be of curiosity to a sure viewers. The appearing total is fairly dire, with James Spader and Deborah Kara Unger seemingly in a daze all through, and Holly Hunter additionally being completely unlikeable, however Elias Koteas proves to be the gem right here because the even-more-unlikeable Vaughn, a nasty character with a relentless fringe of hazard about him however he’s by no means lower than completely partaking every time he’s on the display screen. Whether or not the performances are the work of Cronenberg’s path or the actors themselves doesn’t actually matter as it’s the subject material of the film that’s its largest draw, and with the Cronenberg identify using excessive on a wave of positivity this 12 months, a 4K improve for one among Cronenberg Senior’s much less celebrated however tougher motion pictures is a welcome transfer and can hopefully pave the way in which for another titles from the Cronenberg catalogue to be given the identical therapy **cough** The Fly **cough**.

Flickering Fantasy Ranking – Movie: ★ ★ ★/ Film: ★ ★ ★

Chris Ward


Supply through www.flickeringmyth.com

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