Written and Directed by Paul Haggis
On general release from 12th August 2005
This review presents a peculiar problem. On the one hand, Crash is one
of the best films I've seen this year. On the other, every time I've tried
to explain its greatness I've made it sound like the most boring, wishy-washy
piece of politically correct rubbish that limousine liberals have ever
foisted upon us. Time for another go.
The film opens with Don Cheadle's LAPD detective announcing that people
never touch in his city because they are "always behind this metal
and glass". He concludes by saying that sometimes "...we crash
into each other, just so we can feel something". As the camera pulls
back, we say that he and his wife have crashed their own car, and are
surrounded by twisted metal and shattered glass.
Paul Haggis - who wrote the Oscar-nominated screenplay for Million
Dollar Baby - has created about twenty ‘main’ characters
in this movie, but that’s okay because each one is fleshed-out with
sensitive beauty. Though they are separated by chasms of class and ethnicity,
everyone is united in their fear and mistrust of those they see as being
part of other social groups. As the story unfolds, we find that the lives
of the protagonists are connected in ways they could never imagine. They
collide like pinballs, bouncing off each other in directions that are
often shocking and that seem to contradict their previous behaviour. But
everything happens for a reason, and we soon remember that everyone’s
personality has facets that they usually prefer to keep hidden. We watch
enthralled as gradually our 'heroes' learn to see behind the branded images
and get to grips with the people underneath.
Haggis deserves more Oscar nominations for creating this fiercely intelligent
yet intensely moving cinematic experience. Matt Dillon and Ludacris surely
deserve to join him for their skilful and multi-layered performances.
Only comedy actress Sandra Bullock disappoints, and seems hopelessly lost
in the company of such serious talent.
We’re not all equal, we’re all different. In the final analysis,
that is one of the things that makes Crash worth seeing and life worth