David Cronenberg (Canada, 1996)
Cronenberg's simultaneously erotic and clinical adaptation of J. G. Ballard's cult novel is set in a near future suspiciously like the present. Crash follows a married couple who imagine their illicit affairs to be the height of impropriety, until they encounter a group who enjoy slightly bigger kicks: sex while watching—or participating in—car crashes. Organizing celebrity death reenactments (James Dean, Jayne Mansfield) for the ultimate fetish, they conflate automobiles with eros, technology with lust, with pain as the final arousal. Crash uses sex, death, and the automobile to uncover the yearning heart of a metallic world, where machines are the hardest pornography.
• Written by Cronenberg, from the novel by J. G. Ballard. Photographed by Peter Suschitzky. With James Spader, Holly Hunter, Elias Koteas, Rosanna Arquette. (98 mins, Color, 35mm, From New Line)