CRASH – Howard Shore

Original review by Alan Rogers

Howard Shore’s score to David Cronenberg’s controversial 1996 movie Crash is a very difficult listen. Based upon J.G. Ballard’s 1973 novel of the same name, Cronenberg’s movie explores another extreme of human behaviour; in this case, the human fascination with death and the tendency to eroticise danger. In the movie, James (James Spader) and Catherine Ballard’s (Deborah Kara Unger) sex life is reduced to recounting tales of mutual infidelity. Then, after being involved in a head-on collision James Ballard finds himself increasingly associating with a “cult” of car crash fetishists. The rest of the movie is a series car crashes (or their aftermath) juxtaposed with sex scenes, all in an effort to provide a “cautionary tale of industrial society’s tendency to dull the human senses.”

Shore has taken the opportunity to experiment with his music. In the liner notes he explains that “…75% of the score was composed while 25% was mutated after the music was recorded”. His approach here is to focus on the emotions, or more specifically, the lack of emotions being played out on-screen. [Read more…]