We Crash Into Each Other

by Alan Rapp on April 22, 2005

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Crash
  • IMDb: link

crash-posterIntertwining tales of violence and bubbling racial tensions crash into each other as residents of L.A. deal with issues of hate, bigotry, and racism that present themselves sometimes subtly and sometimes not-so-subtly throughout the course of the film.  Crash tries to show how many people live their lives with certain ideas and notions that they might not even be aware of until they are forced to confront them.  Many people won’t like the film for it’s bleak look at the human condition, but in examining this small group of people the film works for me as it shows how easily ill-will and prejudice can be passed on from one person to the next through angry or hateful exchanges.

There is a cop (Don Cheadle) who is sleeping with his partner (Jennifer Esposito) and dealing with a drug addict mother and a younger brother (Larenz Tate) who likes to carjack white folks with his friend (Ludacris).  The car they choose one night belongs to the District Attorney (Brendan Fraiser) whose wife (Sandra Bullock) is tramatized by the incident and takes it out on her husband and the Hispanic (Michael Pena) locksmith they hire to change the locks who she takes for a gangbanger and has an Iranian customer (Shaun Toub) who thinks he is ripping him off and then when his shop gets robbed he takes the gun his daughter (Bahar Soomekh) bought him and searches for revenge.  Then there’s the racist cop (Matt Dylan) who can’t get his father the health care he needs and takes it out on a young black couple he pulls over (Terrence Howard and Thandie Newton) to the disgust of his partner (Ryan Phillipe).

As these characters collide in harsh circumstances as the worst natures are brought to the surface including racial slurs and beliefs and violence.  Many of the actions taken by the characters may be seen as harsh, but also can be viewed as quite human in the situations that they are presented with as they lash out at the easy targets they are presented with.

The film’s main thesis is kind of the reverse of Pay It Forward.  When someone presents such attitudes or behaviors and enforces them onto others those feelings are twisted up and passed along in a never ending circle of ever increasing anger and hatred.  It is so easy to get wrapped into this cycle and very hard to stop and raise above it.

For an ensemble piece this large to so well done in every aspect is nothing short of amazing.  Praise should go to director Paul Haggis who gets not only the best out of Don Cheadle and Terrance Howard but manages to find real, enganging, and emotional performances from Sandra Bullock, Brendan Frasier, and Tony Danza.  Now that’s great directing.

Although not perfect, the film works much better on an emotional level than an intellectual one, with the performances it gets out of its cast and the hard look it takes at these issues it easily one of the best films of the year.  It’s a film that will engage you and make you examine your own beliefs and attitudes and lead to a discussion of the issue of racism that is still very much alive in this country today.  For a film to address and promote discussion of such an important issue is what you hope from great filmmaking and Haggis and his cast give us a very fine film.

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