Arguably the closest commercial Western cinema has come to Oshima's Ai No Corrida - what 'story' there is consists chiefly of a series of obsessive, claustrophobic, transgressive sex-scenes - Cronenberg's film of JG Ballard's novel is both imaginative and, notwithstanding its 'scandalous' content, strangely 'respectable' (in terms of fidelity and finding appropriate solutions to problems of adaptation). Basically, it's about a couple (Spader and Unger), already so disenchanted by notions of conventional sex that they tell each other in detail about their various other liaisons, who are further aroused when they encounter Hunter (widowed victim of a car collision with Spader) and Koteas, a near-crazy car-crash freak who introduces them to the perverse erotica of scars, wrecked debris and the threat of violent death itself. It's a dark, disturbing, languorous movie, as ludicrous, hermetic and repetitive, perhaps, as Ballard's original, but admirably assured and true to itself.
Cast and crew
Deborah Kara Unger