If Crash affects you the way it's intended, you'll never want to see it again. That's the best possible compliment the movie could receive. It runs the gauntlet of emotion, from anger, sadness, frustration, to aggravation, fun, and melodrama. There's nothing missing, and it's a large enough emotional drain that you'll never try to sit through it twice.
It's one of those morality plays, maybe too much so for some people. The story, involving so many actors, seems far more complicated than it is. It's not, just a tale of how complete strangers can affect each other and impact their lives in a short span of time. It's unbelievably forceful, powerful, and moving.
Even with everything that happens as naturally flawed people's lives are intertwined, the ending could not have been written any better. There really isn't one, leaving the characters open, if they've changed or not. It's up to the viewer to figure out where these people are going from here, or possibly see one of them as themselves. It's a brilliant finish.
The only problem here is sometimes forced dialogue. Words are spoken to be racist just for the sake or being racist. It's overblown and unnatural at times. It's used to set up the characters whose lives will be affected in the time frame of the film. It happens early enough to possibly take some people out of the movie, and kill that pull dramas like this can have.
Everyone involved on screen makes sure you know their characters and motivations in preparation for discussion afterwards, regardless of the lines they're given. Aside from a few questions that need answering, you have all the information necessary. These are classic performances, even from people who are not usually actors (like rapper Ludacris).
This is a masterpiece for director and writer Paul Haggis. His feature film credits are short, yet this could be the single film he needs to gain any job he wants. Crash is that good, even though it's a film that isn't entertaining. It shouldn't be. (***** out of *****)