Tuesday, March 29, 2011


(May 2005, U.S.)

Before I even get into this film, I want to mention a song from my favorite Broadway musical AVENUE Q called "Everyone's a Little Bit Racist". Look up the lyrics and you'll see that they're not only very funny, but they also just might ring true with anyone who is completely and totally honest with themselves.

That having been introduced, we now discuss Paul Hassis' CRASH, a film about racial and social tensions in Los Angeles, California and the tremendous anger it produces amongst a small group of people. Like other films before it, such as SHORT CUTS (1993), 21 GRAMS (2003) and BABEL (2006), these people ultimately are connected in some form or fashion; in this case, of anger or racist action. Several characters' stories interweave during two days in Los Angeles; a black LAPD detective estranged from his mother, his criminal younger brother and gang associate, the white District Attorney and his irritated and pampered wife (played, by the way, by Sandra Bullock in the only decent acting I think the woman has ever done. Then again, I haven't seen THE BLIND SIDE), a racist cop who disgusts his more idealistic younger partner, a Hollywood director and his wife who must deal with the said cop, a Persian-immigrant father who is wary of others and a Hispanic locksmith and his young daughter. As the title's metaphor suggests, these people's lives will not just interweave, but will literally crash head-on into each other with intense tragedy. And as cliche might predict, the film ends up displaying some small signs of redemption and goodness at the end that may give the viewer warm and cozy feelings inside, but rest assured, these feeling won't last too long, because before you know it something happens in our lives with someone we don't know that will provoke our anger and our intolerance all over again.

CRASH, in my opinion, does very little to paint a positive portrait of human beings and their tolerance for each other based on color or creed. On a more personal level, though, I can only say that I've never been accused of being racist. On the other hand, I've never been accused of being tolerant, either. Like many others, I'm very capable of getting pissed off at people I don't know and letting my anger get the better of me, and what's more I have no intention of displaying any signs of hypocracy by offering an apology that is not genuine. This anger I often feel is usually most found on the road when I'm driving amongst other people. It happens when I see a woman insane enough to be texting while driving or when I get stuck behind some old man who drives too slow or behind the person who is too fucking stupid to realize that they ARE permitted to make that right turn at a red light!

Let me jump back to that song from AVENUE Q that I mentioned earlier. Here's a few lines from it that may sum up what many of us REALLY think and feel...but probably will never admit:

"If we all could just admit
That we are racist a little bit
Even though we all know that it's wrong
Maybe it would help us get along"

Is it true? Who knows.

CRASH won the Oscar for best picture of 2005. But as much as I loved it, I thought George Clooney's GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK should have won instead.

Favorite line or dialogue:

Jean: "I am angry all the time... and I don't know why."

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