Wired, May 1997
Director, writer, and cinematographer David Cronenberg has constructed a career around visions of bodies in transition – focusing variously on disease, gynecology, drug addiction, and the scope of physical mutation.
In 1992, he dared to film one of two “bibles” of cyberpunk bohemia: William S. Burroughs’s Naked Lunch. Now he’s taken on the other: Crash, by J. G. Ballard. Ballard’s strange and disturbing 1973 novel revolves around atrophied, affectless citizens who attempt to locate meaning and erotic pleasure in automobile crashes.
Fetishizing crippled flesh, hard metal, and the emotional distance of his characters, Cronenberg has created a film distressing enough to upset journalists at Cannes (where it won a special jury prize) and his distributor, Ted Turner, who declared it “really weird.” In the words of Ballard, “The film goes farther than the book I wrote. What is so powerful about it, and its performances, is that they start where the book ends…. It’s one of the best films on sexuality, violence, and the motor car.”