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Movie Review: Crash

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CrashThe lives of several diverse Los Angeles citizens crash into one another, through unforeseen avenues. Their own perspectives, prejudices, and personal agendas conflict with the new realities that each must face.

The Story
This film is about people. America is filled with people of all classes and backgrounds. Los Angeles, in particular, is filled with demographics that radically differ in respect to race, social standing, and economic status. Some of these factions of people are forced to interact on a day to day basis, but some never intermingle. It is when these very different people with very different perceptions of each other are forced to encounter, that we see a collision. Crash is about that collision. The collision of minds, incomes, races, genders, and preference cause some of the inequalities we face in our society. This film is a masterpiece that poses the question, “how would we react when put in a defining moment, with people we are typically uncomfortable with?”

The Acting
Incredible. Even though it would be hard to find a “leading” role, each actor respectfully commanded their role with incredible results. The film is filled with a cast of big name stars that most movie goers would look for. The film is filled with previous 20-something stars that never reached their potential or never really had any (Bullock, Danza, Fraser), but this film allowed those like Dillon and Phillipe to channel the acting prowess that they never knew they had. Matt Dillon who plays the racist Officer Ryan gave the performance of his life, for which he is being considered for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar. Actor Don Cheadle pumps out yet another solid supporting role in which he plays a black detective with a druggie mother. The screenplay allows a very diverse cast to share the spotlight. This film is an excellent example of how large the talent pool in Hollywood really is.

Behind the Scenes
The film, because it features the lives of several protagonists, is very fast paced and engrossing. The cinematography is above par to most films, and the soundtrack complements each pivotal moment that the film provides. I liked the way in which each character’s “dark side” seems to appear during the cold LA night, while their defining moment or epiphany typically comes set in a sunny California backdrop.

The Final Cut
This film is so powerful that I could barely breathe during some scenes because I did not want to miss what was happening. The acting and writing were superb. This is truly Hollywood at its best. If Paul Haggis can continue with this trend of Oscar contenders of late, he will need a bigger office to show off his hardware. He is now truly considered the top screenplay writer in the business. For heaven’s sake the man created Walker Texas Ranger, can you really be any more accomplished than that?

The Upside:
These are supposed to be short and sweet, so I will have to say… Everything!
The Downside:
The writing is nearly perfect however, a very small group of people may not be able to keep up with the multiple story lines.
On the Side:
Before Ryan Phillippe signed on, Oscar nominee Heath Ledger was in talks for the role of Officer Hansen. The role of the TV director (taken by Oscar nominee Terrence Howard) was originally offered to Forest Whitaker who turned it down to finish First Daughter … big mistake.

Making the Grade:

The Story: A+
The Acting: A+
Behind the Scenes: A
Overall: A+

Brian Gibson is a Staff Writer for Film School Rejects.

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  • Seriously, Bliffle. Don’t make it clear that you haven’t seen the movie and then go on to criticize it anyway.

  • zingzing

    if you haven’t seen it, that’s all you can say then, isn’t it? it’s not the masterpiece some people make it out to be, but it’s not particularily preachy (you watch the thing happen, so nobody has to blather about it), and any film-making flash is only in the viewer’s mind (it’s not the special effects, but the editing and the way the camera is used that wows). i would seriously suggest watching the movie, it’s only two hours of your life, then you can have an informed opinion. i’m absolutely, 100% sure that you’ve seen far worse. so there.

  • Bliffle

    I’ve read several reviews of “Crash” and not one has inspired me to waste any time actually seeing the movie. Sounds overwrought and preachy to me. Also, too much film-making flash.

  • chisholm-bop

    I agree with the review. I thought this film was almost perfect. It really moved me and I highly recommend it.

  • Respectfully disagreeing with this review. I didn’t dig this movie at all, and didn’t like what I saw as clumsy and condescending soapboxing.

    I hate this “a bunch of unlikeable people colliding like pinballs in LA” genre. It was bad when they called it Grand Canyon or Short Cuts.

    And being “shocking” about “take a long look in mirror at the color of your skin and blah blah” is so Capt. Obvious in this ham-fisted film, it’s like Marilyn Manson keynoting at an assisted living facility in Muncie about obscenity laws.

    My favorite movie critic out there, Matt Zoller Seitz, gives an elegant and comprehensive argument as to why this movie is The Emperor’s New Clothes on his blog, which is here.

    I want to shrink and laminate this article just to hand it out whenever this movie’s discussed.

    Also, from a purely screenwriting/craft standpoint, just because you have 75 speaking roles in an ensemble, doesn’t make it a great film. I don’t like John Sayles, but virtually every one of his big ensemble movies (Lone Star, City of Hope handles Haggis’s subjects with oodles more tact and restraint and craft.