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A dramatic film directed Paul Haggis about race relations in Los Angeles.

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Less Than Six Degrees of Separation.

  • Oct 26, 2006
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 views of race and culture come into play throughout their lives. There are times that the movie is quite violent and even without the violence, the film is still rather harsh because of its brutal honesty. The film has been criticized because its portrayal of race has been said to be riddled with stereotypes and generalizations. There is some truth to the criticisms, but just a nugget. CRASH uses the stereotypes and generalizations that so many of we Americans use and throws it in our face to show us how wrong we can be and how we are only crippling ourselves.

CRASH opens with a car crash and ends with another. These crashes are literal, but they are also metaphorical as to what happens throughout the movie. A young man is shot. A white couple is carjacked. A Hispanic man tries to protect his daughter from gang violence in their neighborhood. A respected black couple are pulled over by a white cop who physical abuses the wife. A black police officer finds it a challenge to communicate with his Puerto Rican lover. A middle Eastern man tries to protect his business from neighborhood thugs. Each of these characters lives interact with one another. Most of them are oblivious to how connected they are but some become aware of the beauty and wonder of life as their lives crash into each other.

CRASH was written and directed by Paul Haggis. He was inspired to write the film after he and his wife were carjacked. Haggis is an extremely talented writer he brings the characters to life and fills them with a realistic vitality so that the characters rise above the expected stereotypes they are presumed to be. Not only that, but Haggis uses some brilliant film techniques to keep the action of the film moving. With an ensemble cast of around twenty major characters, CRASH could have easily become bogged down, but Haggis doesn't allow that. The story keeps moving and like life itself, each moment is fresh.

The ensemble cast includes Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Tony Danza, Loretta Devine, Matt Dillon, Michael Pena, Jennifer Eposito, Brendan Fraser, Terrence Howard, Thandie Newton, and Ryan Phillippe to just name a few. CRASH won the 2005 Oscar for Best Picture as well as the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.

The film is not for everyone. It moves in a linear fashion, but instead of focusing on just a few characters weaves it's tale through many characters. I know there are some people who do not enjoy this type of filmmaking. However, if you don't mind the linear story from multiple perspectives and wish to watch an excellent drama that deals with race issues honestly, then CRASH is a movie you will want to see.

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More Crash (2004 film) reviews
review by . March 25, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
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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 …
Quick Tip by . July 13, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
One of the most thought-provoking movies you'll ever see, with some exceptional acting by a huge cast. Everyone needs to see this film, especially Americans.
review by . April 29, 2009
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 …
review by . March 30, 2009
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 …
review by . November 09, 2008
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 …
review by . January 02, 2009
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 …
review by . May 12, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
"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 …
review by . January 09, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
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 …
review by . April 08, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
"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, …
review by . March 22, 2006
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 …
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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...
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