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Movie Review: Crash (8/10)

Posted on August 28th, 2005 filed in Movie Reviews    |   

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In ethnically diverse and racially strained Los Angeles, a car accident on Christmas weekend exposes, over 48 hrs, how the lives of many people there, so different and disconnected, are so intertwined and connected that a crash is almost inevitable.


In a style that would have made Robert Altman (Short Cuts) proud, Paul Hagis (Million Dollar baby) cowrote and directed a timely and tight piece on racism and prejudice and their impact on how we feel and think. The result is both powerful and disturbing.

There is the rich, powerful, and ‘refined’ district attorney (Brendan Fraser) and his I-am-really-an-obnoxious-stuckup-bitch wife (Sandra Bullock) whose car is jacked by some philosphical black thugs (Ludacris being one) with the subsequent major Bullock paranoia of everything and every one around her including the lashing out at the latin dude sent to change her house locks.

There is also the mistaken-to-be-arab Persian store owner with limited English skills that insists on buying a gun to protect his store, clueless that the locksmith� is advising him that what he needs is his door, and not his lock, replaced.The fact that this latter is latin only results in heightening the storekeeper’s anxiety and distrust.

The locksmith himself is a loving single dad with a 5 yo daughter unable of moving beyond his seedy and unsafe neighborhood despite an earlier violent shooting that killed his wife.

Then we have a black-but-believes-he’s-white director (Terence Howard) who panicly witnesses,� yet can’t stop, his wife (Thandie Newton) from being harassed and fondled by a corrupt cop (Matt Dillon). Outraged and shocked, the latter’s rookie partner (Ryan Philippe) looks on and decides he’ll be better off with a new partner, or even solo assignments.

Hagis has done a fabulous job and skillfully brings to light this complex story while keeping the peculiarity of each character and the intricacies that govern their interactions. But it’s the powerful cast that actually allows him to deliver. Facial closeups leave little space for flaws and thus entails the mastering of the character played at all its depths. And they virtually all come through.

Matt Dillon is at his best in many years as the dirty cop with room for redemption. Sandra Bullock is a welcome departure from the string of romantic lead characters that exclusively marked her carreer so far. It is reported that she lobbied so hard for this role that she waived her pay. Smart move Ms Bullock. How else would we have known that you have the ability to be mean, foul-mouthed, and obnoxious?

Overall, Crash is a powerful movie with an awesome cast and an uncomfortable story. And it works, disturbingly so. Undoubtedly, one of the best filsm this year and a serious contender for the next Academy Award run. Highly recommended.

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3 Responses to “Movie Review: Crash (8/10)”

  1. Ralph Says:

    So Sandra Bullock played this amazing role for free…Smart women, as you said we are so used to seeing her play the nice, sexy woman in romantic comedies that casting her for the role of the cold, racist, arrogant yet miserable, rich wife is not the obvious choice, but she did a wonderful job….. Matt Dillon too, did such an amazing role, you forget his good looks he so much masters this foul, complex character which we cannot but hate and sympathize at the same time….

    It is a must see movie for everybody, it is a social awakening that crudely draws for us the dark road of intolerance, insecurities, spite, individualism, paranoia, and racism which our contemporary, twisted, lonely society is on….

  2. Maya Says:

    Loved this movie, your review gives it a good summary but I must talk about two scenes that deeply affected me…. If you have not seen the movie, stop reading right now, I do not want to spoil it for you, otherwise feel free to share you enthusiasm or lack of.

    The scene where Matt Dillon as the corrupted cop, on a power trip, frustrated and racist, feels Thandie (the woman he arrested) up, right in front her husband is highly, highly disturbing. But later on, as the irony of fate would have it, in a deadly car crash, he literally risks his own life to save her, and she at first fights him then lets him help her and cries at his shoulder, is such a powerful, emotional scene, it remains with you years after you leave the theater….The scene in a nutshell portrays Yin Yan, the good and evil in all of us…It is a fantastic scene

    THe second scene that really touched me, is Sandra bullock, as you described her the rich, stuck up bitch who tells of her Latino maid only to later on confess, in her hour of sickness and eakness that she may be her only true friend….Amazing portrayal of the emptiness of human relationship these days, specially the ones based of your status and wealth….the loneliness of the high powered, career driven people who forget to give substance to their relationship and finally in my opinion a perfect example of how money does not and will never buy you happiness….

    There are other amazing scenes as well, but these two truly hit a cord in my heart

  3. Xavier Says:

    Crash is one the best movies I have ever seen… Wow, what a story, what a twist in the plot, what a raw portrayal of human weaknesses and intolerance yet compassion as well all present in each of us waiting to surface at the right opportunity….

    It is a brilliant movie, the way the totally separate and different lives of the characters, each with a different social status and racial background get intertwined in a dramatic way, brutally highlighting how there is good and evil in all of us and at the end of the day we need each other, despite our differences to survive…

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