You would think Crash serves a purpose. Sadly, all it succeeds in doing is rearrange the already existing thoughts in your mind. While the movie has a mighty beginning, the end is just a garble of events tumbling down a breakneck slope, eager to reach their culmination. And what you're left with is a confused concourse of cast, who pretty much have the same mindset as they did in the beginning. The only difference is that they don't know what to do with it next.
The cast of Crash features the who's who of Hollywood, and there are a couple of commendable performances. Brendan Fraser gives a nonpareil portrayal of an ambitious district attorney, and Sandra Bullock plays his wife in a role against her usual character, but pulled off with tremendous credibility. Don Cheadle as an LA detective is just perfect as usual, delivering the best dialogue of the movie: "Nobody touches you," he says. "We miss that touch so much we crash into someone just to feel something."
But while you enter the theatre with the intention of hating all the racists and bigots you may come across in the movie, what ensues is actually a director's game of presenting a person's ostensible character, and then following it up with evidence to the contrary.
The movie starts off with two black teenagers walking down a predominantly white neighbourhood, seemingly exploring the mistaken clichés about white people believing that a black person could only mean trouble. But then they almost immediately draw their guns out and hijack the district attorney's SUV, with Fraser And Bullock in it, at gunpoint.
Bullock's prejudices are very outright from this point on - she doesn't bother to hide the fact that she wants the locks in her house changed again since they were repaired by a colored guy, she starts getting suspicious of her house maid who's of Mexican origin, and she doesn't give a damn about who hears her outbursts.
The colored guy who changed her locks, turns out to be a "family guy" who has supposedly moved out of one neighbourhood to another where gunfire doesn't crack all night. This very locksmith mistakenly ends up on the wrong side of an Iranian who was bluntly called "Osama" by the owner of a gun store. A classic example of how ignorance feeds the racial prejudices of people, as Iranians are not Arabs, but Persian.
Meanwhile, a racist cop played by Matt Dillon sexually humiliates a black woman (Thandie Newton), with his rookie partner (Ryan Phillippe), and the woman's husband (Terence Howard), helplessly standing by. A couple of scenes ahead, the racist cop ends up saving the very same woman, and in another thread, there's an encounter between the husband and the younger cop.
The husband is dealing with his own demons, as the incident concerning his wife's molestation opens his eyes to his own situation as a black, even though he's a successful TV director in Hollywood.
The story relies a whole lot on co-incidence, which takes away from the genuineness of the movie. While Dillon's role of an extreme racist LAPD cop turned humanitarian neatly depicts the intertwining vignettes of the movie, the conflicting scenes are hardly convincing. Phillippe's role as the consistent good-hearted cop was more plausible.
Subtlety is not the theme here. There are no filters on the dialogues, and the plot warps into an entanglement of numerous guises of racism and ambiguity, which ends up becoming the movie's modus operandi.
Crash is definitely reminiscent of Traffic
, but while the latter integrates just three cogent storylines, Crash attempts to interweave a myriad dramas. And ends up doing a not-so-good job of it.
This coming from the writer who gave us Million Dollar Baby
. While Crash may invoke emotions, it fails to teach you much if you already knew prejudice and racism are bad. Catch this film without any major league expectations, and you may just end up gratified.