Posted on Monday, September 12, 2005 at 06:00 PM
By: S. Tran
Starring: Don Cheadle, Sandra Bullock, Jennifer Esposito, Brendan Fraser, Larenz Tate, Ludacris, Matt Dillon, Ryan Phillippe, Terrence DaShon Howard, Thandie Newton, Michael Pena, Shaun Toub
Directed by: Paul Haggis
Running Time: 113 Minutes
Rated: Rated R for language, sexual content and some violence.
Makes a Big Impact
Some movies are just so good they make you wish the movie was longer and you leave the theatre feeling satisfied about the $12 you just laid down. Crash is one of these movies. Director Paul Haggis does a great job putting together a tight, entertaining and thought provoking film using a well crafted script and bringing out terrific performances from this ensemble cast.
The plot itself isn't easily explained. The movie follows several people in Los Angeles as they go about their lives over the span of two days. As we spend time with each of the cast we see the racial undercurrents each of them swims in and against. Whether they are the angry young black man played by Ludacris, the idealistic white policeman played by Phillippe or the district attorney played by Fraser for whom race is a commodity for his ambitions above all else.
The movie is an unapologetic examination at the way we look at race. No one group is singled out for sainthood or scorn. They are simply presented as people with all their weaknesses, prejudices and strengths. Each character is at times heroic and pathetic, honorable and shameful. For example, Matt Dillon's character finds himself blaming and lashing out against African-Americans because he thinks affirmative action has hurt his family and yet he risks his life to save an African-American woman from a burning car.
It's this realistic portrayal that makes you want to watch the movie. There are no formulas being trotted out. Haggis does not dumb anything down for the audience. He doesn't care whether some scenes make us uncomfortable. Life is sometimes uncomfortable and the movie shows this. Race relations are never black or white but run into shades of gray, blue, purple and red.
The performances in the film are all good. Its tough to single out anyone as the screen time is shared fairly equally among the actors. It would be fair to say that these are the best performances by these actors in quite some time. Even Ludacris does a credible job as the pessimistic young black man.
Perhaps the only complaint about the movie is that there are too many intersecting storylines. It would have been nice for us to spend a little more time with the characters and see more facets of them being brought out. This is a minor complaint though because the screen time the actors have is used to its fullest. Take some time for this movie its worth every minute.
4.5 out of 5 stars.