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Crash (Widescreen Edition) (2005)

A movie directed by Paul Haggis

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Gut Wrenching, Heart-Warming, Inflammatory, and Nakedly Honest

  • Sep 27, 2005
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.)

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Janet Boyer ()
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Author of The Back in Time Tarot BookandTarot in Reverse. Co-creator of theSnowlandDeck. Hall ofFame/ VineReviewer; Freelance Writer/Reviewer; Blogger; Professional Tarot Reader/Teacher; Lover … more
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About this movie


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 multi-character ...
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Director: Paul Haggis
Screen Writer: Paul Haggis, Robert Moresco
DVD Release Date: September 6, 2005
Runtime: 112 minutes
Studio: Lions Gate Films
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