Crash | The Canadian Encyclopedia



In Crash, television producer James Ballard (played by David Spader) and his wife Catherine (Deborah Kara UNGER) lead complex, if hollow, sexual lives.


In Crash, television producer James Ballard (played by David Spader) and his wife Catherine (Deborah Kara Unger) lead complex, if hollow, sexual lives. Following a near-fatal head-on collision with Dr Helen Remington (Holly Hunter), whose husband is killed in the accident, Ballard and the doctor meet in the recovery room of a hospital and are inexplicably drawn into the bizarre world of scientist and photographer Vaughan (Elias Koteas). Vaughan is a specialist in restaging celebrity car crashes like the one that caused the death of James Dean in 1955, and introduces them to a disturbing type of sexual experience. An intentionally controversial film, Crash (1996) is neither pornographic nor dull, as its many critics have claimed, but rather a strange and insightful film about human sexual compulsion. Intensely anti-erotic and surprisingly witty, it's a cerebral ride, an end-of-the-millennium meditation on sex, death and alienation.

Directed and adapted by David Cronenberg from J.G. Ballard's phantasmagorical 1973 novel, Crash will certainly repel and disgust many viewers; nevertheless, it is challenging, courageous and entirely original. It has been awarded Genie Awards for best director, adapted screenplay, cinematography, editing, and sound editing, and it won the Golden Reel Award for the top-grossing Canadian film of 1996. At the Cannes Film Festival it won a Special Jury Prize over the objections of jury president Francis Ford Coppola.

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