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Sunday, May 15th, 2005

CRASH

In my effort to mix up my film-going, I went to see the new film CRASH written and directed by Paul Haggis.  I must admit my expectations were very high given that I loved MILLION DOLLAR BABY (which he wrote) and I really like the cast.  The film was very well made and Haggis seems to have a great understanding of desperate working class people in Los Angeles.  The problem I had with the film is that it didn’t dig deep enough into the characters and flesh them out in a more 3 dimensional way.  In watching this film it is obviously in the similiar vain of MAGNOLIA, for but some reason I found that MAGNOLIA packed much more of a punch.  It had more of a jagged, eccentric edge and it showed you a clearer portrait of the characters and their inner workings before it cut to the quick. 

The story that seemed to be the most effective was the one with Matt Dillion as the racist cop.  At first we see what a horrible vile person he is and then later in the film we find out why and where his hatred and attitude stems from.  Dillion is great in the role and you really get a sense of his frustration, rage and desperation.  I also really admired the work of Don Cheadle.  He just makes every movie he is in better by his presence.  I’d honestly pay $12 to watch him read the phone book.  He is equally effective in the film, but again I wish I would have seen more of his character and learned more about his character’s perspective.  Sandra Bullock does well in her role, but she is given little to do.  We never find out much about her or what is driving her to feel the way she does. 

There were also some character twists that bothered me.  It seems that almost every character in the film is extremely racist, yet for some of the characters that doesn’t seem to fit.  For example the cop played by Jennifer Esposito gets outraged and makes racist comments towards an Asian woman who collides with her in a car accident, YET later on when Don Cheadle’s character makes a racist remark about her being Mexican she takes such great offense.  Her character seems to have the attitude that racism is ok as long as it is not about her.  That just didn’t ring true in the scipt or to her character. 

Overall, CRASH is an interesting portrait of racism in Los Angeles and it is worth seeing…but at the end of the day I’m still harboring mixed emotions because I felt it just didn’t dig deep enough to get to the core of what causes it in the first place.

Written by Karie (site owner) on 05/15 at 10:30 PM

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