Crash (2004) (R)
What happens when you live in Los Angeles and you can't touch another person? When you walk in the streets of New York, you brush up against other people, bumping into them, feeling the wind as they walk by. But in a city where you always are incased in a cocoon in glass and metal you get deprived of that touch. You forget that you are a community and just focus on yourself as a individual. Yet people are supposed to feel touch so to compensate for this lack of feeling, people crash into each other and set off a chain reaction, the outcome of which is unknown.
This is what Detective Waters tells us at the beginning of "Crash" right after he and his partner are rear-ended in their car. Immediately you can see that "Crash" is going to be a movie about racism and bigotry although it's never really preachy.
Like many movies before and after it, separate stories connect together to from of web of a film.
A couple of movers and shakers get their car stolen, the thieves accidentally hit a man trying to get away, a detective is trying to solve a crime and deal with his drug addicted mother, a cop is wearing a tough facade but is really dying on the inside, and another couple struggles with the law and the stereotypes surrounding them—these are just a few of the stories that intertwine in "Crash". There's also a locksmith and a family of Middle Easterners who set up shop in the city of angels and a policeman who thinks that his morals will hold him afloat. Each one of them encounters racism of some kind but how they choose to deal with it always differs.
"Crash" likes to place situations that seems a little absurd in the viewer's lap. They seem absurd until you realize how true they could be. How many people to you come into contact with daily and what ramifications do your actions have? This is the question at the core of "Crash" and what a great sentiment its trying to convey.
The movie isn't trying to change history or personal views toward other people (though if it did either of those I'm sure the producers would be happy). But it is attempting to point out how what we think are internal feelings can be externalized without us even knowing. Be careful, you don't know how you will affect other people.
Regrettably, "Crash" is one of the more hated Best Picture winners. Many people argue that "Brokeback Mountain" should have taken home the statue. I just don't understand what the huge deal is. There is a long list of these hated titles and they range from "Chicago" to "Rocky". But "Crash" is as deserving of the statue as any of its predecessors and its successors. It's easy to miss the subtleties of the movie—a look one woman gives to another, the actions of a rookie cop, and a man who's father is sick's anger.
"Crash" is a great movie, but definitely not for all.
The script is fluid and impossible to predict. The score is pulsating and riveting. The acting is spot-on and the message is clear.
"Crash" is not an enigmatic film, but it does cause the viewer to analyze themselves after exiting the theater...and whether or not it has an Oscar or not, it is a great film because of that.
Score: 4 out of 4 stars
Posted by Micah Jones