By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 19, 2005

Format: DVD

David Cronenberg takes chances and his pushing the edge of cinematic art is what makes his films so interesting. JG Ballard's controversial novel CRASH seemed an unlikely prospect for a film, so dark were its explorations of the outer zones of excitation and their relationship to near-death events. But Cronenberg worked through making Ballard's visions visual and his screenplay based on Ballard's book is more about interior dialogue and visceral sexual encounters as they relate to trauma.

James Ballard (James Spader) is a successful TV director who spends as much time as a lothario as he does making film. He is married to Catherine (Deborah Kara Unger) whose own sexuality leads her into stray paths. The two seem to connect physically but the fire is diminishing: they both concur that encounters with other partners enhance their sexual experiences.

James is in a car accident and survives with a broken leg and scars, but the other car's male driver was killed and his surviving female companion Helen Remington (Holly Hunter) is hospitalized with James. While in the hospital both encounter a strange, scarred, limping male photographer Vaughn (Elias Koteas) who takes photos of the scars and trauma results of both James and Helen. Catherine visits James in the hospital and seems to find excitement in the scars and orthopedic paraphernalia binding her husband.

Once James is released from the hospital he is strangely drawn to the car he wrecked and finds Helen in the same mindset. The two move into physical attraction as well as an emotional attraction to Vaughn. Vaughn is obsessed with auto accidents, having been in many, and he stages famous car accidents (James Dean, Jayne Mansfield, etc) for a captive audience - which includes James, Helen, and Catherine.
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