CINEMA: SLOW-MOVING VIOLATION

FOR ALL ITS KICKS AND KINKS, CRASH LACKS IMPACT

At last May's Cannes Film Festival it won a hotly disputed prize for "originality, daring and audacity." In November it nabbed five Genies (Canada's Oscar equivalent), including one for director David Cronenberg. It also earned a chilling blast of invective from Ted Turner, boss of bosses of the film's U.S. distributor, Fine Line Features (and vice chairman of Time Warner, parent of TIME). Now Crash--from J.G. Ballard's notorious 1973 novel, and with an NC-17 warning sticker affixed--finally opens in the country that invented car culture.

Its premise is custom-made to shock: five people take their pleasure by making love in the...

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