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Crash Review

Published May 17, 2005 in Movie Reviews
By Vince Palomarez | Images property of Lion Gate Films
Crash Crash
The topic of racism is always tough to deal with it. While not as bad as it was in the past, it still exists today. Sure it may not be as big of an issue as it once was, but it has become so common in peoples lives we forget just how powerful its presence is. After dealing with the difficulties of a woman in the world of professional boxing, Oscar winner Paul Haggis (Million Dollar Baby) decided to make his directorial debut dealing with this touchy topic with the movie Crash.

Crash- Movie Review

Crash deals with racism by breaking up individual experiences in to a series of interconnected stories that pretty much cover a majority of races and the stereotypes that are attached to each one. Each story deals with racism in its own individual way from a racist cop (Matt Dillon) who can't stand an interracial couple to a young black man (Ludacris) who thinks there is a hidden agenda against black people in everything. The film makes sure that no one comes out in a good light and even the people you think are the voice of reason have their own prejudices hidden inside.

Right off the bat, Crash doesn't try to hide the fact that it's about racism. Haggis makes a point to hammer this issue down your throat for the full 100 minutes and it can get to be overkill after awhile. This isn't a very easy topic to deal with and he makes sure the viewer realizes this by creating tension throughout the film. Some of the scenes in Crash, while not being visually graphic, are still very intense thanks to great dialogue by Haggis and some very great performances by actors you wouldn't expect to see in these kinds of films. Sandra Bullock in particular does a huge 180 from her normal likeable romantic comedy role to a trophy wife, who after getting carjacked, doesn't seem to trust anyone who isn't white. I think the fact that you do see some of these actors in roles that they normally wouldn't play adds to the shock factor when watching this film.

Crash Crash
While the story of Crash is great, the film in a way becomes a one trick pony. By concentrating on nothing but racism and every scene having some form of confrontation the film doesn't have a lot of depth. Sure, every character goes through some change (good and bad) by the end of the film, but you really don't get a very good look at what makes these characters the way they are. Aside from Matt Dillon's story and Don Cheadle's (a detective torn between his life on the force and taking care of his heroin addicted mother and troubled brother) the other stories have no depth other than the fact that they are discriminating or being discriminated against somebody. I would've liked to see more background on some of the characters to find out why they are who they are.

One thing that really bugged me about Crash was how closely the film's format was to the film Magnolia. From the series of interconnected stories to the "unique event" at the end to rap everything up in one continuity, fans of Magnolia will feel a very strong case of Déjà vu. Think of this film as Magnolia minus an hour, which is a good thing.

Final Judgment: Overall, while Crash has its flaws, a great script and excellent performances makes this film a must see. The controversial issue of racism may scare people off, but for those willing to confront it they will not be disappointed in how this film deals with the topic and its resolution.
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Compiled By (Sources)
Vince Palomarez
Sources: Images property of Lion Gate Films

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