Friday, September 3, 2010

979. Crash (2004)

Running Time: 114 minutes
Directed By: Paul Haggis
Written By: Paul Haggis, Robert Moresco
Main Cast: Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon, Terrence Howard, Sandra Bullock, Michael Pena


Note: To anyone who has previously followed this blog, no, you haven't missed out on 835 blog posts, but rather I have decided to navigate around the book in random order. I'd rather not dwell on it at the moment, but rather get to the business at hand, but trust me, before the three-day weekend is over, I'll have a post up explaining my decision. So if you see anymore random posts between now and then, please read and enjoy them.

Now then...

Rather than wait for the combined efforts of Netflix and the U.S. Postal Service to bring me another movie from the pages of the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", I opted to take a walk down the hallway, to my DVD shelf and select "Crash" for my viewing pleasure. Despite the contrived plot (or plots) that followed over the next two hours, the film still manages to evoke emotions.

Explaining the plot won't be an easy task, so stick with me on this one. We start out with a car crash, and a seemingly in shock Detective Graham Waters (Cheadle) explaining the numbness of people in the large city of Los Angeles, where out tale takes place, to his partner Ria. Soon the duo of detectives are called to a crime scene where one white police officer has shot and killed a black police officer. Graham is also being called upon by his mother, to help her find his brother, who hasn't been home in several days. Graham's brother is Peter, who along with Anthony has made a career out of carjacking white folks and selling their automobiles. Most recently, Jean (Bullock) and her husband Rick Cabot(Brendan Fraser) are carjacked by the two carjackers and when arriving home this brings out the true colors of Jean, who seems to be more than a little bit racist, especially toward the locksmith, Daniel Ruiz (Pena) who has been called to the Cabot home to change the locks.

Daniel Ruiz later is having some trouble of his own, however, as he has been called to a locksmith job to the store of Farhad, a Persian immigrant who is in such fear for his safety that he's purchased a gun, of which he has barely no idea of how to use. The remaining group of characters and plotlines are following the lives of Officer John Ryan, a cop who needs help for his ailing father, help that his father's black HMO representative is reluctant to give the bigoted white cop. The other and more important storyline involving Officer Ryan sees him and his partner Tommy Hansen pulling over television director Cameron Thayer (Howard) and his wife (Thandie Newton) and although they've really done nothing wrong, it seems as though being a couple of color has gotten them a share of harrasment in the City of Angels.

I think it's funny how nowadays making a movie about race and racism seems to nine times out of ten always get attention and award nods. Racism has become a very cliche topic, however "Crash" relies more on emotion and the talents of an outstanding cast to make their movie succeed and turn it into a Academy Award winner for Best Picture. Although they're blatantly contrived, there are three key scenes in the film that would draw emotions out of a corpse. THe scenes that I am referring to, you can probably already guess, but I'll mention them anyway. Officer John Ryan arrives on the scene of a car crash and quickly realizes the victim is Christine Thayer, the woman he pretty much molested during a traffic stop. Officer Tommy Hansen arrives on the scene of a billigerent man, who was driving wildly and realizes it's Cameron Thayer, the man his partner harrased during the same traffic stop. And last, but certainly not least, the scene that has me fighting back tears no matter how many times I see this film, Persian store owner Farhad, tired of being mistreated in America goes to the home of the locksmith, who he feels has done him wrong, and pulls a gun on him and his little girl.

I have mixed feelings on "Crash" and if it's not for you, then it's not a movie that I'm going to wildly defend. However, I do enjoy it and despite all the talk of racism and bigotry, there's a really good story lying under there, as contrived as it may be. Of course these situations probably wouldn't really happen and as racist as some people are, in the 21st Century, I believe the majority of them hold their tongue in the presence of their despised race. I'm not racist, nor have I ever been, so it's not really an issue that I have a lot of experience with. The movie here is a good one and the situations that are presented are great stories and the actors do an A+ job.

RATING: 8/10 Forgive me if the review was a little rusty, it's been a while and I'm still easing back into this.


September 3, 2010 12:17am

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