Movie #333 Crash
(2004, US, d. Paul Haggis)
It’s hard to get an ensemble movie right. It’s even harder to make that movie stand alone. Crash not only succeeds in both of these tasks, but surpasses them emotionally a million times over. What often happens with short vignettes that try to come together and point to a uniform thematic point is that though the overall message is praise-worthy, the individual segments are cheesy or worst, not genuine. I mean, it’s a logical error. When faced with little time, screenwriters will often use the most expedited ways to tell stories. These usually involve shortcuts, and not the pretty ones. Screenwriters Paul Haggis and Robert Moresco thankfully don’t fall into this trap. Instead, somehow they are able to use the time to their own advantage, selling complex stories in practically no time at all. This is a film about Los Angeles and after living here for a few years, you come to love those movies, because Hollywood movies that portray the real LA are rare and hard to come by. Even rarer are the ones with a redeeming message. Crash is that sort of film. With an incredible ensemble cast including Don Cheadle, Sandra Bullock, Brendan Fraser, Chris Bridges, Michael Pena, Matt Dillon, Ryan Philippe, Thandie Newton, and Terrence Howard, it is the sort of film that if written well, you don’t really have to worry too much about how the performances will turn out. It is a film about unity and a film about our connectedness, and in order to that, it is a film that highlights our differences. Crash is a wonderful piece of filmmaking. Moving, powerful, and touching, it’s a film that doesn’t leave the mind, or the senses, easily.