Starring: Don Cheadle, Sandra Bullock, Matt Dillon, Brendan Fraser, Ludacris, Larenz Tate, Terrance Howard, Ryan Phillipee, Thandie Newton, Michael Pena, Shaun Toub
Several stories interweave during two days in Los Angeles involving a collection of inter-related characters, a police detective with a drugged out mother and a thieving younger brother, two car thieves who are constantly theorizing on society and race, the white district attorney and his irritated and pampered wife, a racist white veteran cop (caring for a sick father at home) who disgusts his more idealistic younger partner, a successful Hollywood director and his wife who must deal with the racist cop, a Persian-immigrant father who buys a gun to protect his shop, a Hispanic locksmith and his young daughter who is afraid of bullets, and more.
These kinds of "it's a small world... see how everyone's lives intersect?" movies are becoming increasingly popular as of late. Sometimes it works well, like with "Magnolia" and "The Air I Breath". Other times it just feels like a convoluted mess with no coherent direction like "Brooklyn's Finest" (which is the only movie I've ever walked out of). For me, "Crash" falls somewhere in the middle despite it having won the Oscar for Best Picture. I think part of that could be it's semi-preachy message, as this movie could have easily been titled "Racism: The Movie"!
"Crash" interweaves lives and stories of the following people...
Peter and Anthony are two young black men discussing the discrimination against them because of the color of their skin. Anthony points out the supposed lack of service they received in a restaurant, that buses are just vehicles to embarrass the black passengers inside with its oversized windows that seem zoo-like, that hip hop music was invented by the government to keep the black musician from making any real statements, and that despite being in a safe all-white part of town, a white woman clutches her husband's arm just a little tighter as they walk to their car. The two men proceed to hijack the woman (and her husband's) expensive car.
The victim of the hijacking is the District Attorney and his wife. Feeling that the press is going to have a field day with him having his car stolen and lose the black vote during election time for pointing fingers, the D.A. decides he needs to be seen praising a black man in a power of position. He enlists the help of Detective Graham Winters who a) is investigating a cop-on-cop murder and b) his younger brother was one of the car thieves.
Meanwhile, the D.A.'s racist wife wants their locks changed and re-changed because she doesn't trust the Hispanic locksmith with tattoos.
The Hispanic locksmith Goes home to his young daughter (who is afraid of bullets after a recent incident where a stray bullet from a drive by shooting went through her bedroom window), only to be called out again to fix the lock of Persian shopkeeper who recently bought a gun to protect his store.
A racist cop and his young partner pull over a black couple for indecent acts (the wife was giving her husband road head) and pats down the wife in an overly-sexual way. The racist cop has a sick father at home that he takes care of and is trying to get better healthcare for.
The couple pulled over are a TV director and his wife. The director later gets hijacked by the same guys that hijacked the D.A.'s car and he fights back.
"Crash" won the Oscars for Best Picture, Best Editing, and Best Original Screenplay. Personally, I don't understand why.
The acting in this movie is absolutely amazing! Strangely enough, the only cast member to even receive an Oscar nod was Matt Dillon as the racist cop. I feel like everyone in this movie deserved a nod (if not wins) for their outstanding performances! This all-star cast really delivered and made "Crash" a heartfelt piece.
My confusion for this movie's success comes from the Best Picture and Best Screenplay wins. I felt like this movie was a little too preachy by beating the audience over the head with the blatant racism throughout the film and shared by nearly every character involved. Yes, we get it, despite being the 2000's, many people are ignorant racists assholes, and there's a lot ways racism can go (blacks hating whites, whites hating blacks, blacks hating blacks, whites hating Hispanics, whites hating Arabs and mistaking Persians for Arabs, Persians hating Hispanics, blacks hating Asians.... lots of skin-based hate)! But I feel like this movie just kept mounting the racism unnecessarily... like I said, it should have been titled "Racism: The Movie".
The inter-connectivity of the characters' lives also seemed a little forced at times. Don't get me wrong... most of the time, it felt seamless and creative, but then there were times (like how the Asians made their way into the story, or how the woman from the health insurance company became a part of it) where it seemed like they only added the characters in just so they could say they had all the main races covered and connected to the rest of the story. It felt too coincidental and therefore forced by the writers.
I had never heard of this movie before seeing it on a list of Best Picture Winners, and I've never heard anyone talking about it. That makes me think a lot of people either didn't see it, or had the same feeling I have: it's not a BAD movie, but it's not really good enough to go "Oh, have you seen this movie yet?" I'd say watch it if you're interested in it, but it's not a "must see".
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