I'll not go into the plot details because they are already chronicled in the Editorial Reviews.
Good movies are hard to come by nowadays. Contrived plots, mediocre acting, stale writing and poor directing seems to be the norm.
Yet, Crash suffers none of these artistic or technical ills.
I was a bit leery of seeing so many big names together. Many times these ensemble casts equal a very "Hollywood-y" movie.
Not so for Crash.
Brendan Fraser and Matt Dillon, two actors I'm not very big on, were supberb in this film. Don Cheadle, while not giving a performance on par with Hotel Rwanda, was convincing. Sandra Bullock, another actress I'm not a a big fan of, was excellent as the uptight, angry socialite who is, esentially, friendless. Thandie Newton was utterly convincing as was the actor her played her husband.
The actor that really stood out to me, however, was Michael Pena. Pena played Armando "Army" Renta in FX's The Shield--sidekick to officer Shane Vendrell. In Crash, Pena plays a locksmith. The storyline about this hardworking locksmith--which includes moving his wife and daughter to a safer neighborhood, encountering racism from a Persian store owner, and endowing his daughter with a magic, invisible "impenetrable fairy cape" was utterly gut wrenching.
Of course, most of the stories in this movie evoked strong emotions in me. I even recognized *gasp* some racist attitudes that I, myself, unknowingly harbored. I was horrified at how we treat our fellow humans. Yet, most of us do the best we can--and no individual is 100% good or 100% bad. We're a mixture.
And Crash brilliantly portrays the mixture that we are. Matt Dillon's chracter (a member of LAPD) goes from groping a black woman during a pull over, to attempting to save her life in a car crash, to standing over his cantankerous father while he's sitting on the pot--in major pain over some undiagnosed prostrate ailment (that the HMO won't grant coverage for in terms of seeing a specialist to help him).
Crash is about racism, about choices, and about consquences. Superbly acted, it is gut wrenching, heart-warming, inflammatory, and nakedly honest--all at the same time.
(PS: Look for Marina Sirtis, who played Betazoid empath Deanna Trois in Star Trek:TNG, as the Persian shopkeeper's wife.)
WARNING: This review contains some spoilers! 2005 was a year in which making socially relevant and topical films became a popular trend in Hollywood. Many of these films focused on particular issues, such as the ongoing conflict between the U.S. and the Middle East (Jarhead), corruption within the oil industry (Syriana), sexism in the workplace (North Country), intolerance towards homosexuals (Brokeback Mountain), the psychological inner workings of terrorists (Paradise Now), or political … more
With the success of such films as Pulp Fiction and Sin City there seems to be a new style of telling a story where there are separate tales intertwined with characters crossing over between the tales. This film takes it a step further and seems to be like a soap opera with several plots happening at the same time with characters constantly crossing over between the plots. The director performs a masterful job of this and creates an excellent tale of many separate lives that reach a crossroad and … more
Crash is probably one of the most thought-provoking, well-written and beautifully acted films I have seen this year. In a collage of collisions, traffic and human, the disturbing underbelly of racism in LA is exposed in all its forms, each plot line producing outrageous events and even more surprising resolutions. With a cross-section of the public, multi-ethnic characters, cops, the advantaged and the disadvantaged, Crash manages to reach beneath the smooth exterior of everyday life, revealing … more
Sometimes there is a reason for people to be angry; sometimes there is no reason for people to be angry. But anger, hatred, and evil, are all Entities that do not recognize the boundaries of color, religion, race, creed, sexual orientation, or social status. 'Crash' is one of the most powerful movies I have ever watched. The script doesn't miss a chance for picking on people because of exterior perceptions and stereotypes, and no one is exempt from the hate. The plotline … more
The movie, set in Los Angeles, follows several unrelated characters as they come to terms with crime and racial prejudice over a two-day period. Some stories eventually overlap; others do not. The characters are presented honestly with all their flaws and a few redeeming qualities. The large ensemble cast is excellent; standouts are Don Cheadle as an honest police detective who has problems at home and at work, Sandra Bullock and Brendan Fraser as a wealthy couple who are carjacked, Matt Dillon … more
"Crash" is a film that revolves around racism and bigotry, and as such it's no surprise that it's become such a controversial film. It was a major achievement for it to garner the Best Picture Oscar (which arguably "Sin City" actually deserved, but one doesn't expect the Academy to bestow awards to those films which truly deserve them), but although it did, and although Roger Ebert proclaimed it the "Best Film of 2005" (though the film actually premiered in 2004), "Crash" has been viewed rather … more
CRASH is a movie about race and ethnicity in L.A. However, the film is more than that. It's also a movie about how we are all connected to each other and that despite the differences in our skin color, cultural heritage, and lifestyle choices we are more alike than we would like to admit. The movie is an ensemble film that examines a wide variety of people in different parts of L.A. The film illustrates how their lives interact, or crash into each other, and how the varied … more
First: throw your stereotypes out the window. They simply don't apply here. To say that "Crash" is a movie about race relations is true, but it also sells the film completely short in terms of the effect that it has and the stories that it tells. It's almost unbearably frustrating, even infuriating to watch, because it's honest, and it is the film's honesty that makes it well worth seeing. The story is a complex one, interweaving the lives of several … more
"Crash" is a clever and groundbreaking movie. The story takes place in Los Angeles and weaves several situations involving prejudice and anguish; each character is usually portrayed as a victim and a villain at the same time. The movie seamlessly takes all of these people with their diverse backgrounds and their situations and brings them together so skillfully that any criticism of the movie being "contrived" seems provincial. To reflect on any of the scenarios is unnecessary and perhaps a spoiler, … more
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Movie studios, by and large, avoid controversial subjects like race the way you might avoid a hive of angry bees. So it's remarkable thatCrasheven got made; that it's a rich, intelligent, and moving exploration of the interlocking lives of a dozen Los Angeles residents--black, white, latino, Asian, and Persian--is downright amazing. A politically nervous district attorney (Brendan Fraser) and his high-strung wife (Sandra Bullock, biting into a welcome change of pace fromMiss Congeniality) get car-jacked by an oddly sociological pair of young black men (Larenz Tate and Chris "Ludacris" Bridges); a rich black T.V. director (Terrence Howard) and his wife (Thandie Newton) get pulled over by a white racist cop (Matt Dillon) and his reluctant partner (Ryan Phillipe); a detective (Don Cheadle) and his Latina partner and lover (Jennifer Esposito) investigate a white cop who shot a black cop--these are only three of the interlocking stories that reach up and down class lines. Writer/director Paul Haggis (who wrote the screenplay forMillion Dollar Baby) spins every character in unpredictable directions, refusing to let anyone sink into a stereotype. The cast--ranging from the famous names above to lesser-known but just as capable actors like Michael Pena (Buffalo Soldiers) and Loretta Devine (Woman Thou Art Loosed)--meets the strong script head-on, delivering galvanizing performances in short vignettes, brief glimpses that build with gut-wrenching force. This sort of...