Film: Crash (Paul Haggis)

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Film:

Crash

Director: Paul Haggis
Honors:
Genres:
Distributor: Lions Gate

Movie studios, by and large, avoid controversial subjects like race the way you might avoid a hive of angry bees. So it’s remarkable that Crash even got made; that it’s a rich, intelligent, and moving exploration of the interlocking lives of a dozen Los Angeles residents—black, white, latino, Asian, and Persian—is downright amazing. A politically nervous district attorney (Brendan Fraser) and his high-strung wife (Sandra Bullock, biting into a welcome change of pace from Miss Congeniality) get car-jacked by an oddly sociological pair of young black…

Reviews

Amazon.com

Movie studios, by and large, avoid controversial subjects like race the way you might avoid a hive of angry bees. So it’s remarkable that Crash even got made; that it’s a rich, intelligent, and moving exploration of the interlocking lives of a dozen Los Angeles residents—black, white, latino, Asian, and Persian—is downright amazing. A politically nervous district attorney (Brendan Fraser) and his high-strung wife (Sandra Bullock, biting into a welcome change of pace from Miss Congeniality) get car-jacked by an oddly sociological pair of young black men (Larenz Tate and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges); a rich black T.V. director (Terrence Howard) and his wife (Thandie Newton) get pulled over by a white racist cop (Matt Dillon) and his reluctant partner (Ryan Phillipe); a detective (Don Cheadle) and his Latina partner and lover (Jennifer Esposito) investigate a white cop who shot a black cop—these are only three of the interlocking stories that reach up and down class lines. Writer/director Paul Haggis (who wrote the screenplay for Million Dollar Baby) spins every character in unpredictable directions, refusing to let anyone sink into a stereotype. The cast—ranging from the famous names above to lesser-known but just as capable actors like Michael Pena (Buffalo Soldiers) and Loretta Devine (Woman Thou Art Loosed)—meets the strong script head-on, delivering galvanizing performances in short vignettes, brief glimpses that build with gut-wrenching force. This sort of multi-character mosaic is hard to pull off; Crash rivals such classics as Nashville and Short Cuts. A knockout. —Bret Fetzer

Barnes and Noble

Quite accurately described by studio publicists as “a provocative and unflinching look” at contemporary life in a post-9/11 Los Angeles suffused with racial tensions, Crash boasts an unusually complex script and wonderful performances. It also moralizes and traffics in outrageous coincidences. Nonetheless, this drama from Million Dollar Baby screenwriter Paul Haggis sports some truly unforgettable sequences and an ensemble cast that, individually and collectively, supplies perhaps the best acting in any movie released this year. No less than a half dozen plot threads are used to weave a multilayered story in which most of the characters interact with one another, in some cases without realizing it. Brendan Fraser and Sandra Bullock play a district attorney and his wife who find themselves carjacked on a busy L.A. street. Matt Dillon plays a racist cop who deliberately harasses an African-American TV director Terrence Howard and his beautiful wife (Thandie Newton) while his embarrassed partner (Ryan Phillippe) is obliged to look on. Don Cheadle and Jennifer Esposito play police detectives investigating what appears to be a racially motivated shooting with political implications for the police department. Other subplots involve a hardworking Latino locksmith (Michael Pena), a Persian shopkeeper (Shaun Toub) whose store is robbed, and a pair of young black men (Larenz Tate and the rapper Ludacris) who spend the day trying to boost cars. There’s no denying that the movie deals with important issues, and despite its earnest self-righteousness Crash contributes forcefully and memorably to a debate our society needs to have. Ed Hulse

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Album:Crash: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

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