Dec 122020

Crash isn’t a movie I found all that great though my interest was mainly for some of the controversy and honestly as strange as the “plot” and characters were, it’s not that out of bounds at least nowadays.



— The Criterion Collection —

Genre(s): Drama, Suspense/Thriller
The Criterion Collection | NC17 – 100 min. – $39.95 | December 1, 2020

Date Published: 12/12/2020 | Author: The Movieman

Director: David Cronenberg
Writer(s): J.G. Ballard (book); David Cronenberg (written by)
Cast: James Spader, Holly Hunter, Elias Koteas, Deborah Kara Unger, Rosanna Arquette

Features: Commentary, Featurettes, Trailers
Slip Cover: No
Digital Copy: No
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 1

Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.66
Subtitles: English SDH
Disc Size: 48.24 GB
Total Bitrate: 38.57 Mbps
Codecs: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A

The Criterion Collection provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.


Plot Synopsis: A traffic collision involving a disaffected commercial producer, James (JAMES SPADER), and an enigmatic doctor, Helen (HOLLY HUNTER), brings them, along with James’s wife, Catherine (DEBORAH KARA UNGER), together in a crucible of blood and broken glass — and it’s not long before they are all initiated into a kinky, death-obsessed underworld of sadomasochistic car-crash fetishists, including the photographer and provocateur Vaughn (ELIAS KOTEAS), for whom twisted metal and scar tissue are the ultimate turn-ons.

Quick Hit Review: I’m not overly familiar with David Cronenberg’s films outside of The Fly which I saw a long time ago, so don’t remember a whole lot about it. In any case, I had heard of Crash mainly for the controversy that surrounded it back in 1996/1997 that to some extent still permeates today (it’s also one of a handful NC-17 films I have in my collection). So after finally watching this, and maybe because times have changed so rapidly, not entirely sure what all the hype is about. Yes, there are many bizarre scenes but the message Cronenberg is trying to send, what I perceive as the mesh of sex and the mechanical (to the point Spader’s character gets a hood ornament tattoo), kind of hits you over the head with it. Admittedly, like a car crash itself, it was hard to look away from the peculiar plot and even odder characters, so can give the film that.

Also will give credit to the actors, every one gives it their all and while both James Spader and Holly Hunter are quite good, though Hunter does seem to disappear through the third act, the highlights were Deborah Kara Unger (who would have an important role in David Fincher’s The Game) and Elisa Koteas, and if not for the controversy, would think both deserved Supporting Acting Oscar nominations, Koteas in particular was great, in a disturbing sort of manor anyway.

So even though I wasn’t wholly invested in Crash, at the very least these self-destructive characters and Cronenberg’s message, I think, of the mixture of vehicular destruction and sex, does give the film a uniqueness like never seen before…



This release comes housed in a clear HD case and comes with a foldout essay booklet, which personally I’m not a fan of. No new features here unfortunately and if you want any, you’ll need to seek out Arrow Video’s release out of the UK (including a 4K Ultra HD transfer).

Audio Commentary – Director David Cronenberg from 1997 where he discusses the origins and provides some background on the production.

Press Conference (37:39) from the 1996 Cannes Film Festival and features David Cronenberg, Cinematographer Sushitzky, Author J.G. Ballard, Producers Robert Lantos and Jeremy Thomas, and actors Rosanna Arquette, Holly Hunter, Elias Koteas, James Spader and Deborah Kara Unger

Q&A (1:41:42) that’s from 1996 with Cronenberg and Ballard at the National Film Theatre in London

And last some Press-Kit Footage (8:47) and the U.S. (1:52) and International (1:31) Trailers.


VIDEO – 4¾/5

Crash comes to Blu-ray presented with a 1.66 widescreen aspect ratio and has been given a new 1080p high-definition transfer, which was culled from the 35mm original camera negative plus additional title elements and a 35mm interpositive (as a reference). The transfer, which was supervised by cinematographer Peter Sushitzky (and approved by Cronenberg), looks fantastic with sharp detail throughout to the point the natural film grain and noise has been retained. And although this is a pretty dark movie, colors do appear well balanced plus no apparent flaws like artifacts, aliasing or general film damage.

AUDIO – 4½/5

The disc comes with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track was newly created for this release and taken from the original Dolby stereo print. The bulk of the audio might come from the center channel for dialogue or general sexual noises; there is some balance for other elements like Howard Shore’s hypnotic score and obviously the few vehicular crashes.


OVERALL – 3¾/5

Crash isn’t a movie I found all that great though my interest was mainly for some of the controversy and honestly as strange as the “plot” and characters were, it’s not that out of bounds at least nowadays. Might be worth checking out with a good selection of bonus material and the video and audio transfers were both top notch.





Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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