I have a real soft spot for 1970s cinema of every stripe. This includes drive-in style films that are pulpy, sort of cheesy, yet fun as all get out. Director David Cronenberg is normally connected to strange horror films in this era but in 1979 he made the straight up drag racing picture Fast Company that is unlike any of his early films.
In the 1970s drag racing was a bit of a cult sport with regional strips all over the country and Fast Company tries to tap into that sub-culture. Cronenberg films some intimate, noisy, up close and personal drag racing sequences despite the pure TV movie story about a drag racer who has seen better days and who is trying to rediscover the magic.
Cronenberg likes cars—that much is evident in the way he films them in this and in his later work, Crash for example—and Fast Company is worth seeing for watching Cronenberg’s terrific eye for detail even in a world unlike his usual bizarre universe.
There were also some terrific ‘70s locations as we get a realistic dose of drag strips in Spokane, Helena and other western locales, pool halls and highway after highway with beautiful scenery drifting by outside the windows as the dragsters go to another race.
But this is a pulpy drive-in styled b-film and therefore Cronenberg fills the film with elements that are so natural that a checklist is warranted.
***Dragsters exploding? Check.
***A dose of T + A? Check.
***Bearded pit crew drinking cans of Bud while trading insults? Check.
***Loud engines revving up over and over? Check.
***Threesomes in semi while driving to next race? Check.
***Motor oil poured over a perky naked bosom while engaged in said threesome? Check.
***Funny cars spew white smoke while peeling out? Check.
***Multiple shots of engines being fine tuned while bad ‘70s style rock music about racing plays? Check.
***Fisticuffs and getting smacked in the head with a tire iron while in the pit? Check.
***Over the top acting by unknown cast? Check.
***Dialogue such as: “oohh whee, side by side flame burnout!” or “boy, he’s got more balls than brains” or “it’s a car idn’t? we’re gonna drive that sucker out!” or the classic “where the hell’s Meatball?”
If these are things you are eager to see or want to watch David Cronenberg do dragster, Fast Company is for you, as it's enjoyable '70s drive in all its glory.