An Accident Waiting to Happen

Faber and Faber has also just published an interview book, Cronenberg On Cronenberg, that shows one reason he's become a rep-house and film-festival favorite. Like many a cult director, he's a canny highbrow salesman. What I found most hopeful about the volume were Cronenberg's tributes to some of his actors. He says that "Chris Walken's face" was the true subject of The Dead Zone, and remarks that Geena Davis (who costarred with Jeff Goldblum in The Fly) "is funny and sexy, and to me that is just the most diabolical combination."

Hardly anyone is charismatic or funny or sexy in Crash. Holly Hunter in sexual extremis is a lot more harsh and impenetrable than Marilyn Chambers (whom she resembles) was in Cronenberg's Rabid. Koteas, the Canadian art-house answer to De Niro, plays Vaughan with a glazed urgency that recalls, in looks and expressiveness, De Niro's Frankenstein. About the only one who comes off well is Rosanna Arquette, in the role of Vaughan's most glamorously mutilated lieutenant. Using an array of support garments and body braces with humorous self-awareness, she gives new meaning to the phrase "trick leg."

Written and directed by David Cronenberg, from the novel by J.G. Ballard; with James Spader, Holly Hunter, Elias Koteas, Deborah Kara Unger, and Rosanna Arquette.

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