"Almost all of them are still alive at the end, and are better people because of what has happened to them. Not happier, not calmer, not even wiser, but better. Then there are those few who kill or get killed; racism has tragedy built in."
- Roger Ebert, review of Crash
I've read some reviews of this film online, and I think others have done more justice to the film than I could. So I'll "review" my emotions as I watched this film and as I was driving home alone last night.
Graham: Its the sense of touch. In any real city, you walk, you know? You brush past people, people bump into you. In LA, nobody touches you. We're always behind this metal and glass. I think we miss that touch so much, that we crash into each other, just so we can feel something.
Crash (2005, Lion's Gate Films), opens with various people in various situations just living life. The characterizations are over the top for at least the first thirty minutes. I thought the sense of racism looked heavily stereotypical, a la Archie Bunker and Fred Sanford. I know people like that, but that many people in such a confined space of story felt contrived. Saying that, as the movie moved along I found that I'd probably joined in the judgmentalism of the characters, taking my own prejudices and exposing them right alongside the steretypes.
Anthony: Look around! You couldn't find a whiter, safer or better lit part of this city. But this white woman sees two black guys, who look like UCLA students, strolling down the sidewalk and her reaction is blind fear. I mean, look at us! Are we dressed like gangbangers? Do we look threatening? No. Fact, if anybody should be scared, it's us: the only two black faces surrounded by a sea of over-caffeinated white people, patrolled by the triggerhappy LAPD. So, why aren't we scared?
Peter: Because we have guns?
Anthony: You could be right.
As the film moves through the activities of a day, situations and chance encounters among the characters reveal more clearly the levels of hope and/or hopelessness each is bringing to the table. While trying to rise above ethnic expectations, or sinking into excuses and prejudice, each character "crashes" into others at random accidental intervals - their lives are shaken, and what's filling the glass spills out, doesn't it?