Fast Company [1979]

An early departure from director David Cronenberg's canon of visceral horror, 1979's Fast Company profiles one of his personal passions, racecars, in a gritty melodrama that also features exciting racetrack footage. Veteran toughguy William Smith is top-billed as a champion drag racer who clashes with the unscrupulous oil-company executive (John Saxon) who sponsors his team. Though lacking the gruesome clinical obsessions of his horror features (Cronenberg admits on the disc's commentary that the film was a tax shelter for its Canadian producers), Fast Company is also fascinated with internal machinery (here, car engines instead of human bodies), and it's easily Cronenberg's most approachable film, with plenty of automotive action alongside the solid performances (the cast includes B-movie queen Claudia Jennings in her final performance). --Paul Gaita

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