This Crash is ultimately about the same thing but more controversially so, as it takes its message to the extreme.
You know how people love their cars? Well, these people really love their cars. After severe injuries in a car crash, the protagonist James Ballard (James Spader) is drawn into a world of car crash fetishists, all victims of car accidents. He also has a very creepy wife, Katherine (Deborah Kara Unger), who has always had a fetish for aeroplanes. And so the fetishists swap partners, always having cold mechanical sex, apart from one pairing which at least has a degree of caring.
There's not a lot of dialogue in the film, or a narrative. Things happen but the main drive (no pun intended) of the film is these characters' obsession. Director David Cronenberg is known for sci-fi/horror films and this is probably the most horrific horror film you've ever seen. There's no monsters as such, apart from death and cars. Though we can only hope there aren't fetishist groups like this, there is something strangely plausible about Vaughan's 'benevolent psychopathy'. Vaughan runs a sort of automobile show where he gets his drivers to re-enact celebrity car crashes. It's horrible, but of course anyone who's ever read a paper or turned on the TV will see something that essentially boils down to this. The more horrible the death, the more audiences are drawn towards it.
Crash deals with interesting themes, such as our relationship with machines, our obsession with death and the feeling that we can somehow conquer it. One of the fetishists, Dr Helen Remington (Holly Hunter), whose husband was killed in Ballard's crash, watches a video of a car crash as she gropes Ballard and another fetishist, Gabrielle (Rosanna Arquette)- though everyone reacts blankly. When the video freezes, Helen is obsessed with needing to play this specific video, because she 'knows' this crash. It's an interesting statement on how we try to master grief and I would have preferred the film to focus on this a little more rather than the more sensationalist material. Not that the sex scenes are irrelevant; in a grotesque way, they sort of fit in with Cronenberg's theme of the body being invaded and attacked. I think though that the concept clouds the film so that your interest in the film will depend on whether you can stand the full grim 99 minutes. This is a film that really needs to be quite short- somewhere between 70 and 80 minutes would have been much more effective.
Another concern I have is that we do not see enough of the 'normal' world. Ballard and Katherine are publically adulterous anyway so it slightly undermines how they are drawn into the car crash fetishism. It also leaves us with no sympathetic character, apart from potentially Gabrielle, whose legs have been mutilated. Ballard should be the 'sympathetic' figure and he isn't entirely.
The film is worth a watch because there simply isn't anything like it but be prepared because it is relentlessly grim and depressing.