Crash (15)

Written and Directed by Paul Haggis
On general release from 12th August 2005

Reviewed by Adam Ford

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 living.

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