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Follow Up: Crash

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There is one thing that you have to accept Crash not to be while watching it: a story. The movie features a melodramatic tale but only as a support for a sort of exercise involving extremes of racism in Los Angeles. So, you must suspend disbelief at all the coincidences and contrivances and implausibilities. I was reminded of the sexual harrassment training video that I show my employees during orientation; each circumstance is explored in an unlikely and almost laughable portrayal. In the end, the total of examples make for a general point.

Very few people are actually as vocal about their stereotyping as the characters in Crash, but racist thoughts are still present today, even if unconsciously or through jokes or through knowledge and acceptance of the existence of misconceptions. Similar to the Sundance hit documentary The Aristocrats, Crash digs through the taboos in a desensitizing way. I was unsure whether it wants to expose us all as hypocrites because we understand the obviousness of each situation or if writer-director Paul Haggis believes our experience of the film as a shocking discovery of these truths.

In the end, I don’t really care what the exercise was trying to achieve because Haggis insults the intelligence of his audience in other ways. In one pivotal scene a character fires a gun point blank at another with no lethal effect. In the context of this film, the plot of which gets pretty far-fetched but remains for the most part grounded in reality, the chance of a miracle is pretty slim. Obviously, the gun was loaded with blanks. That Haggis finds it necessary to include an insert shot of the box of blanks is a total drag. Every good thing about Crash -including Jennifer Esposito’s nudity -was then ruined.

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