By Philip Ellwood - Monday 12th September 2005
‘Crash‘ is a refreshing change from the big blockbusters that have dominated cinemas over the last few months. The film works on a much smaller budget than the average Hollywood movie and is better for it. Despite this the film still boasts a stellar cast - Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle and Thandie Newton to name a few - that most Hollywood studios would give their right arm for.
‘Crash‘ captures one day in Los Angeles which sees a variety of character‘s lives connect and interweave. The theme of the movie is racism and discrimination. The film highlights the ignorance of an everyday society where people stop taking the time to communicate and fear each other instead. It highlights a complete lack of understanding between human beings about race and culture. Jean (Sandra Bullock) does not like to think she is racist but is forced to admit that she feels threatened by black youths, Cameron (Terrence Howard) has to witness a police officer taking advantage of his wife Christine (Thandie Newton) whilst Graham (Don Cheadle) investigates a murder of a black teenager that is too close to home. These are just some of the stories illustrated in the film.
The film is successful on many levels. Director Paul Haggis does not paint a picture of a victimised black community nor does he shy away from the blatant racism displayed by every creed and colour. Many times throughout the film a character can be heard saying to another that they will not speak to someone who cannot speak English. Even Shaniqua (Loretta Devine) who has been a victim of racism from a white man displays traits of ignorance when she is shown shouting at a Chinese family, ‘Do you even speak English?!‘.
Haggis manages to paint an accurate portrayal of today‘s society. He fleshes out characters that would rather live in fear of what they do not understand than try and learn how to get along. Every character is so busy with their own lives that they cannot even comprehend that there is life outside of their own bubble. All of the cast do an incredible job. Most notable are Sandra Bullock and Matt Dillon. Bullock shows that she is capable of more than playing cute and ditzy whilst Dillon shows a harder, unnerving edge than we have seen from him before.
‘Crash‘ is thought-provoking and ultimately very rewarding. I can guarantee that no cinema-goer will feel the same when they leave the multi-plex as they did when they entered. The characters (and the audience) go on a big journey and learn something about themselves by the end. If you want to see what is wrong with society then go and see ‘Crash‘ - you won‘t see a more accurate portrayal of life in the 21st Century anywhere else.
Director: Paul Haggis
Distributor: Lions Gate Films/Pathe
UK Release Date: Friday 12th August 2005
Celebrities Worldwide Rating - 10 out of 10