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Plot: Over a thirty-six hour period in Los Angeles, a handful of disparate people's lives intertwine as they deal with the tense race relations that belie life in the city. Among the players are: the Caucasian district attorney, who uses race as a political card; his Caucasian wife, who, having recently been carjacked by two black men, believes that her stereotypical views of non-whites is justified and cannot be considered racism; the two black carjackers who use their race both to their advantage and as an excuse; partnered Caucasian police constables, one who is a racist and uses his authority to harass non-whites, and the other who hates his partner because of those racist views, but who may have the same underlying values in his subconscious; a black film director and his black wife, who believes her husband doesn't support their black background enough, especially in light of an incident with the racist white cop; partnered police detectives and sometimes lovers, one Hispanic female and the other black male, the latter who is dealing with a drugged out mother that feels he isn't concerned enough about taking care of family; an East Asian man who is run over but who is hiding some valuable cargo in the back of his van; a Persian store owner, who feels he isn't getting satisfaction from American society when his store is robbed time and time again; and a Hispanic locksmith, who just wants to keep his family, especially his adolescent daughter, safe in a seemingly unsafe world. Runtime: 112 mins Release Date: 05 May 2004
Review: Ensemble cast delivers top-notch performances in reflective drama (by Brambo)
In a drama strikingly reminiscent in style and tone of P.T. Anderson's film Magnolia 1999 , the narrative in Crash shifts between 5 or 6 different groups of seemingly unconnected characters, whose relationships to each other are only revealed in the end.Not to be confused with the David Cronenberg feature of the same name, this Crash is the feature-length, studio-released directorial debut of veteran Canadian TV writer/producer/director and two-time Emmy-winner Paul Haggis. An in-depth exploration on the themes of racism and prejudice, cause and effect, chance and coincidence, and <more>
tragedy, "crash" is a metaphor for the collisions between strangers in the course of day-to-day existence. Set over a 24-hour period in contemporary L.A., it is a social commentary on the interconnectedness of life in the big city.Crash features a top-notch ensemble cast which includes: Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon, Jennifer Esposito, Brendan Fraser, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, Loretta Devine, Thandie Newton, Ryan Phillipe and Larenz Tate. All put in superb performances in a tight script which is at once gritty, heartwarming, shocking, tragic and witty, and which will ring true with viewers of all demographics.Centering around two disturbing car accidents, a carjacking, vicious workplace vandalism, and the suspicious shooting death of one police officer by another, the drama is set against the backdrop of a racist LAPD and Los Angeles justice system. Action shifts between the various characters, whose lives collide with each other in unpredictable ways as each faces their own moral dilemma, and tries to cope with the consequences of their resulting decision made or action taken. Each of the dozen or so main characters undergoes some type of a personal metamorphosis as the various story lines head toward a striking, common conclusion, which succeeds at being both cathartic and unsettling.Crash is backed by a solid and varied, original soundtrack and excellent cinematography. Sweeping, wider shots alternate with disjointed camera angles which convey the chaos and confusion of the characters and the unpredictability of life. Occasional lingering close-ups -- on occasion without sound -- capture the actors' facial expressions, which suitably detail key moments of the characters' aching pain, fear, anger, bitter anguish, remorse or grief, far better than any dialogue could.This breathtaking film is destined to be a critical smash and box-office hit. Five stars.
Like Altman's classic Short Cuts, and Anderson's Magnolia, Crash, by writer/director Paul Haggis weaves a tale of multiple characters through the web of streets we have come to know as Los Angeles. Unlike those other two films this one has a very specific theme to explore. From the opening line uttered by Don Cheadle we know this is to be a film about how people relate, and from the interchange that follows between Jennifer Esposito and Alexis Rhee pretty sure she plays the Korean female driver who rear-ended her how people relate tends to be ruled by first impressions or <more>
prejudice.Race is paramount in this film, and all our preconceptions of who people are get twisted and turned through the intricate plot. With each new additional character we find another assumption, another stereotype, and then watch as that preconception is obliterated as the character develops. It is a credit to the deftly written script, tight direction and exceptional acting talent that every one of these many characters is fully realized on screen without ever feeling one-dimensional.I would love to discuss some of the details of what happens to explain how well it is done, but part of the magic of this film is allowing yourself to be taken on this ride. Mind you, this isn't a ride of pleasure. The first half of this film is unrelentingly in its ferociousness. I could literally feel my rage at some of the characters forming to a fever pitch. The fear and hatred I was confronting wasn't just on the screen, but in the pit of my stomach. And in one absolutely brilliant moment I was literally sobbing at the expectation of horror unfolding, only to be cathartically released in a most unexpected way.Mr. Haggis was in attendance at the screening I saw and explained that the idea for this film came to him one night sometime after 9/11 at about 2a.m. when his own memories of a car- jacking experience from 10 years before wouldn't leave him alone. Clearly this film was his way of relieving those demons of memory, using the catharsis of his art to unleash them and in doing so has given to all viewers of cinema an opportunity to examine our own preconceptions about race relations and how we treat each other and think of ourselves. He mentioned in the discussion after-wards that he likes to make films that force people to confront difficult issues. Films that ask people to think after the film has ended and not just leave saying: "that was a nice film".This isn't a "nice" film, and I would expect that it will provoke many a discussion in the ensuing weeks when it opens nation-wide. It's a discussion long overdue for this country, and it took a Canadian to bring the issue to the fore in this brilliant, thought provoking film.
"Crash" is a complex movie with a simple premise: set in Los Angeles it follows 8 main characters and many, many more supporting from all walks of life and races whose lives intersect at some point during one 24 hour period. These people are all different yet all alienated, to the point of breaking, so much so that when they come together, things explode.The complexity of the film comes from the encounters between characters and their tangled lives and worlds. Haggis' screenplay is so intricate and delicately written I couldn't begin to try to summarize the actual plot <more>
line which destines this article to be kind of vague , but everyone meets everyone else at some point in the film and there are a whole lot of characters . Sufficed to say these meetings are variably intense, casual, fleeting, dangerous, but they all effect the participants in profound and provocative ways, causing lives to find enlightenment or swerve violently, and watching it all unfold is mesmerizing because Paul Haggis Oscar Nominated writer of Million Dollar Baby made the film meaty with messy characters and topics and stories to chew and hurtle along with.The all-encompassing theme of the film is racism, and it is dealt with bluntly, honestly, and without reservation. Every single character participates in the perpetuation of the ugly cycle but also suffers because of it. Where racism makes for an interesting enough subject for an already provoking and fairly experimental film I was surprised to see this get wide release , it's only the catalyst for a deeper, resounding story of redemption and the universality of our lonely situation which the movie becomes during its second hour what you could call Act II . It switches from a somewhat depressing contemplative amalgamation of moments about racism in everyday life and how destructive it is, to a throbbing, intense web of choices and consequences -- life and death, vivifying or soul killing -- and the chance at redemption.Following their actions in Act I, everyone meets a fork in the road or is given a second chance of some sort. Some take it, some don't, but regardless, by the end of the movie everyone has changed. This is what gives the movie wings during its second hour, makes it interesting, keeps you guessing and on knife's-edge. It also gives the characters depth and souls and shows that despite perceived and upheld differences, when it comes down to it we aren't different which we see in a shattering scene between Ryan Philippe and Larenz Tate after Tate notices that he and Philippe have the same St. Christopher statue , in fact we desperately need each other. It's one of the few films I've seen where everyone is at fault somehow and yet there are no villains. It makes it hopeful, particularly with something as ugly as racism: everyone's fallible, but everyone has the capacity for good and nobility. That said, each of these character's inner struggles makes for all the conflict and resolution you need.A talented ensemble drives the film, sharing almost equal amounts of screen time, but the folks who really stood out and had my full attention each time were Terrence Howard plays a TV director , Matt Dillon as a patrol cop , Sandra Bullock a rich housewife , , Don Cheadle a detective , and Michael Peña a locksmith . These five gave deeply, deeply felt performances portraying a wide range of emotions and personal situations, giving souls -- alone, yearning, and searching in a world that doesn't seem to care -- to shells of imperfect people. But the actors triumph in little moments of human contact: a glance, an embrace, a pause, a smile, a wince, things that breath the film to life and with simple visuals give it profundity. This is beautifully illustrated in a small scene between the downward spiraling Jean Sandra Bullock and her maid after she's begun to realize all her problems may not be about the two black guys who car jacked her, but her own life.Some closing notes: it's obvious it's a debut. At times the dialogue and acting can be stilted and unnatural; some of the initial "racial" situations seem forced; certain scenes could have used some editing or fine tuning, but by the end I didn't care. It also may be helpful to know that the first hour spends its time setting everything up for Act II, although it will seem more like a photo essay on racism than a setup. But by the time Act I ends you're ready for something substantial to happen, and at the perfect moment, stuff happens. I was entirely satisfied with this movie, I couldn't have asked for anything more. Still it's impressive, with his debut Haggis made a film that magically maintains a storytelling balancing act about people's lives that almost seamlessly flows, takes an honest look at racism with an understanding of mankind, a belief in redemption, and even hope. As I walked out of the theater into the rainy night it resonated with me and colored my thoughts as I made my way through the crowds of unknown fellow people filling the cinema. That's about all I can ask for in a film.
Bold and Compelling Treatise on Racism in Modern Society (by WriterDave)
Take the pop-cultured infused socio-political discourse of a Spike Lee movie, the glossy grit of a Michael Mann LA crime story, and the compelling mosaic story-telling technique of a Paul Thomas Anderson film, and you'll get the "feel" for Paul Haggis' stunning directorial debut. To boil a film like "Crash" down to such terms, however, would do it severe injustice. Powerful and thought provoking, this is the most accomplished and compelling film since "21 Grams" premiered back at the end of 2003."Crash" brilliantly shows through intertwining <more>
vignettes, that are often blazingly funny in their brutal honesty and fascinatingly gut-wrenching in their melodrama, how subtle racism often guised in nervous humor and overt prejudice often exasperated by sudden irrational violence and an overabundance of readily available firearms completely permeate our culture and everyday interactions within society. A hyper intelligent script showcases not characters, but brilliant representations of real people, people we know and pass in the street every day, people not unlike us. People who at first seem to be lost causes in the war against racism witnessed in Matt Dillon's harried beat cop and Sandra Bulluck's spoiled District Attorney's wife can often become the most unlikely solutions to the problem, while people who ride in on their high horse witnessed in Ryan Phillipe's noble young police officer can turn against the tide in the blink of an eye. No one is immune to it no matter how hard they try to rise above it witnessed in Don Cheadle's quietly tragic detective .In the end, everyone is flawed, the racism is inescapable, and the audience feels a twinge of sympathy for just about everyone. Perhaps that is what Haggis is hinting at to be our answer. Showing empathy and being able to relate even on the most remote level to every human being out there is the first step to that true brotherhood of man. Because the film offers no real solution, the discussion and discourse it creates in the minds of the viewers is the first step in solving society's ills. We can't tackle everything at once, but we can open a dialogue, and hopefully, one person conversing with another will be the first step to our salvation. It takes a bold film to raise such questions, and an even greater one to compel an audience to talk about the potential answers, and that is exactly what "Crash" accomplishes.
a realistic, gritty, no-nonsense look at the way life is for so many.... (by acclar)
After seeing this movie, I was able to really understand what "Six Degrees of Separation" means. There is a thread that weaves its way through the landscape of life connecting, influencing, and defining all. This movie is certainly thought-provoking, one cannot watch it without feeling either privileged to have become part of the fabric, or like a fly on the wall - seeing, yet unable to influence or guide. There is almost a sense of frustration at ones inability to be no more than an observer in this movie since it compels you to want to shout in warning, gasp in shock, cry in <more>
sorrow, and hold in comfort. "Crash" is definitely not a movie to use as a venue to escape life for a couple of hours, but it is a movie that certainly makes you take a second and third look at who you are within yourself. The actors are surprising not only for their depth of performance, but also because they do not play characters you think you know. I would highly recommend this movie to anyone who likes drama, action, comedic relief, or just an appreciation for a well-thought out movie.
It might be too early to being talking about one of the best films of the year, but if the shoe fits, then Paul Haggis' new film Crash feels like that pair of shoes at the back of the closet too comfortable to throw away. Ironically, comfortable is about the last thing you are going to feel by the time the end credits roll.In the vein of P.T. Anderson's Magnolia, Crash follows multiple characters through various story lines that intercept during the course of two days in Los Angeles. The common thread between all the players is the deep rooted bigotry and racism that each person <more>
exhibits. Whether it is the L.A.P.D. cop who's frustration with a black medical center clerk leads him to take out his anger on a black couple during a routine stop or the white socialite who reveals her distrust with the Hispanic locksmith, Haggis weaves an angry tale of people of all races that are have stereotype opinions on nationalities not their own.Although there is no particular plot line that is at the epicenter of the film, Don Chedale as Detective Graham does get the most screen time. Starting the film investigating the murder of a young man dumped at the side of the road, we follow Graham through his arms length relationship with partner Ria Jennifer Esposito , his involvement with a white police officer that has shot and killed a corrupt black cop and his rise through the department thanks to the Assistant District Attorney, Rick Brandon Fraser who extends an offer of title to Graham more for the color of his skin rather than his achievements in the field.But maybe most interesting is the storyline with Matt Dillon resurrecting his career as Officer Ryan. Responsible for his aging and ailing father, Ryan follows a path of self destruction and ends up violating the rights of a young black woman Thandie Newton in one of the many standout performances in the film only to later have to come to the aide of the same woman after a traffic accident the following day. Ryan is a man in conflict. His lack of understanding why the world could be so unfair leads him to lash out at other cultures. But his duty to serve and protect in the time of need reveals a man who sees no color only a responsibility based on his oath of uniform.No nationality is really let off easy in Crash. Whites, blacks, Middle Easterners and even Asians are seen as cultures that would seem to prefer to live in a world that consisted only of their own kind. They argue amongst themselves about how they are perceived by different races, and do not relent in their bias towards anything different.Crash is, in a word, provocative. You can't help but want to talk about the film at its conclusion, and that is probably the best compliment that Paul Haggis would want to receive. As ugly as each character is portrayed for their hatred, each situation is explained without being condoned. Like the black television director that is bombarded with comments on his loss of blackness his wife through to the producer of the show. Of all the characters he has the biggest change of view from beginning to end as he forgoes his own life of harmony mentality to take on the police and other blacks who try to rob him of his dignity.No easy task for a first time director, but Haggis gets the best out of his ensemble. Sandra Bullock in her small role as the ADA's wife is the best she has ever been and rapper Ludicrous and Larenz Tate as the two car jackers show great range and offer the few lightened moments in a film heavy on theme.Movies released in the first half of the year, rarely get noticed come golden statue hand-out time, but Crash should follow in the footsteps of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind and at very least get a best screenplay nod.But in lieu of any formal recognition, one thing is certain. Paul Haggis on the heels of his writing of last years best film Million Dollar Baby and now with Crash in his directing debut, is the new hot ticket in Hollywood and we will be hearing about him for a long time to come.www.gregsrants.com
Although the isolation and interconnectedness of automobiles and traffic are forgive me one of the driving metaphors of Paul Haggis's film Crash, the experience of the film's characters is more like a roller-coaster, where random strangers are thrown together through twisters and turns of a journey out of there control. A harrowing travail for them, but an impressive thrill for the audience. Equally impressive, perhaps, is the way the large cast quickly and completely inhabit their roles. This film isn't perfect. Haggis relays a bit too aggressively on coincidence, and the over <more>
the top emotionalism of a few key characters is a bit grating, Nevertheless, this is a good film that you won't want to miss.
Revenge and redemption along our collective racial divide... (by moonspinner55)
Various denizens of Los Angeles cross paths in ironic, cathartic and, as they say, life-changing and life-affirming ways. "Crash", the Academy's choice for Best Picture of its year, is unabashedly melodramatic; hence, it hits a preachy speedbump now and then. Still, its themes of personal self-loathing, lack of self-worth, impatience and rage come across succinctly, both verbally and emotionally. It's a carefully planned one may say shrewdly planned portrait of apathy in our present-day society, though director Paul Haggis ensures intense and sobering moments. The film <more>
begins at an almost elemental level, yet it eventually raises the bar for social issue dramas, and the ensemble cast is very fine. Sandra Bullock stands out as a wealthy white woman distrustful of anyone who doesn't look like her and Matt Dillon is solid as a deeply troubled cop both are redeemed by circumstance . Other Oscar wins included Bobby Moresco and Paul Haggis for their screenplay, from an original treatment by Haggis, and for Best Editing. Dillon was nominated as Best Supporting Actor, Haggis for his direction, and Kathleen York and Michael Becker for their song "In the Deep". *** from ****
Excellent! Haunting, cutting, riveting, and all too true! (by thorr97)
Folks, Wow! This one's a keeper! Written and directed by Paul Haggis - he, of "Million Dollar Baby" fame - this is film of the angst, desperation, hope, prejudice, and misery that comes with modern life. It is _very_ well written, _very_ well directed, _very_ well acted and it is also a harsh thing to watch. The situations depicted in the film make you squirm as they are so real and so familiar. No one in this film is an unblemished hero yet neither is anyone a beyond the pale villain. The plot twists and character turns keep you guessing and are right on the edge.The actors <more>
chosen were spot on and some were very surprising to see as their current star status would have otherwise dictated larger roles. Yet at the same time none of them seemed placed in those roles out of any cameo or "walk-on" effect.As a white guy who often gets up into LA and who recognizes a lot of the backgrounds shown in this film I can very much relate the type of angst which floats around up there. The various cultures; black, white, Latino, Asian, Arab, etc., do _not_ mix well but, due to the nature of modern urban life, always wind up mixing anyway. While Los Angeles does not come off too well in this film, it could easily be set in almost any modern American city and it is more of a testament about how we live than any damnation of the City of Angels.This film was very watchable and it does cut right through you. I recommend it highly.Madoc