By Vince Palomarez | Images property of Lion Gate Films
The topic of racism is always tough to deal with
it. While not as bad as it was in the past, it still exists today. Sure
it may not be as big of an issue as it once was, but it has become so common
in peoples lives we forget just how powerful its presence is. After dealing
with the difficulties of a woman in the world of professional boxing, Oscar
winner Paul Haggis (Million Dollar Baby) decided to make his directorial
debut dealing with this touchy topic with the movie Crash.
Crash- Movie Review
Crash deals with racism by breaking up
individual experiences in to a series of interconnected stories that pretty
much cover a majority of races and the stereotypes that are attached to
each one. Each story deals with racism in its own individual way from a
racist cop (Matt Dillon) who can't stand an interracial couple to a young
black man (Ludacris) who thinks there is a hidden agenda against black people
in everything. The film makes sure that no one comes out in a good light
and even the people you think are the voice of reason have their own prejudices
Right off the bat, Crash doesn't try to hide the fact that it's
about racism. Haggis makes a point to hammer this issue down your throat
for the full 100 minutes and it can get to be overkill after awhile. This
isn't a very easy topic to deal with and he makes sure the viewer realizes
this by creating tension throughout the film. Some of the scenes in Crash,
while not being visually graphic, are still very intense thanks to great
dialogue by Haggis and some very great performances by actors you wouldn't
expect to see in these kinds of films. Sandra Bullock in particular does
a huge 180 from her normal likeable romantic comedy role to a trophy wife,
who after getting carjacked, doesn't seem to trust anyone who isn't white.
I think the fact that you do see some of these actors in roles that they
normally wouldn't play adds to the shock factor when watching this film.
While the story of Crash is great, the film in a way becomes a
one trick pony. By concentrating on nothing but racism and every scene having
some form of confrontation the film doesn't have a lot of depth. Sure, every
character goes through some change (good and bad) by the end of the film,
but you really don't get a very good look at what makes these characters
the way they are. Aside from Matt Dillon's story and Don Cheadle's (a detective
torn between his life on the force and taking care of his heroin addicted
mother and troubled brother) the other stories have no depth other than
the fact that they are discriminating or being discriminated against somebody.
I would've liked to see more background on some of the characters to find
out why they are who they are.
One thing that really bugged me about Crash
was how closely the film's format was to the film Magnolia. From
the series of interconnected stories to the "unique event" at the end to
rap everything up in one continuity, fans of Magnolia will feel
a very strong case of Déjà vu. Think of this film as Magnolia minus an hour,
which is a good thing.
Final Judgment: Overall, while Crash has its flaws, a great
script and excellent performances makes this film a must see. The controversial
issue of racism may scare people off, but for those willing to confront
it they will not be disappointed in how this film deals with the topic
and its resolution.