Newest Review: ... relations within the modern day. What Crash really has going for it is its very respectable cast of actors, all of whom believably play i... more
Crash (2004) Film Review
Member Name: Ataraxia
Disadvantages: Dialogue, script
Paul Haggis, screenwriter and producer of the awesome Million Dollar Baby, occupies the director's chair for this racial drama, Crash (not to be confused with the 1996 film of the same name, which is concerned with the subject of Paraphilia). Several stories are told from the perspectives of the characters, all of whom live in Los Angeles and experience cultural tensions that lead to verbal and physical disputes. Eventually, their various attitudes and belief systems all intertwine in a bid to give the audience an overview of the day-to-day immorality that comes from race relations within the modern day.
What Crash really has going for it is its very respectable cast of actors, all of whom believably play individuals from diverse backgrounds of class and ethnicity. Matt Dillion stars as a racist LAPD cop who gets off on harassing wealthy black couple Terrence Howard and Thandie Newton, much to the dismay of his partner, Ryan Phillippe; Shaun Toub and Bahar Soomekh, as two Persian storeowners, experience racism when attempting to buy a gun; Michael Peņa, as a Mexican locksmith is discriminated against when just going about his job; while Sandra Bullock, a rich snob, remains suspicious of non-whites after a recent carjacking by two black youths, Larenz Tate and rapper Ludacris, even though her husband, Brendan Fraser, attempts to convince her that "they're not all the same".
For all Paul Haggis' attempts to mould together the experiences of various individuals and depict racial tensions that occur in all parts of a city, however, Crash feels all very melodramatic - too melodramatic in places -- for such a serious subject. The screenplay can be blamed for this, which, in the end, has its characters rely on numerous coincidences so that they are able to cross paths and redeem their sins. This dilutes a lot of the emotion, making it seem more like a soap opera, switching rapidly between several different concurrent stories, than a serious film about race.
The hammy dialogue doesn't help matters, either, which often leaves the characters burdened with long, preachy and unrealistic patterns of speech. In truth, Crash would've probably benefited, on the whole, from just a few characters in order to achieve a higher level of emotional effectiveness. It's by all means watchable -- scenes involving Ludacris and Tate are the pick of the bunch -- but for a person who has a keen interest in the causes and effects of racism, and takes them very seriously, I would've definitely preferred more subtlety.
(C) Andy Carrington, 2011.
Summary: I would've definitely preferred more subtlety.