Crash Film Critique

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Mark Zelayaran
English Honors 1A
Mrs. Breckheimer.
Crash a film critique
The film “Crash” produced and directed by Paul Haggis is a compilation of clever vignettes all throughout the film and for most they undergo some change; however, for the change to occur the film shows the human side of certain characters. The film is a compilation of lives of various characters in a course of a day in the city of Los Angeles. Although racism, discrimination and prejudice is constantly used all throughout the film, Haggis does this bring the message across that “Stretches the boundaries… becomes intensely moving…acknowledges.. The intolerant are human… rage fuels itself and redoubles” (Denby). Scott makes the argument that Crash is “full of heart and devoid of life”; however, Denby’s claims that Crash “Stretches the boundaries… becomes intensely moving” and “acknowledges.. The intolerant are human… rage fuels itself and redoubles” are evident all throughout the film.

The film starts off with two white police officers- Officer John Ryan and Officer Tom Hansen. Haggis has built the character Officer Ryan as an intolerant and angry individual who takes his rage out on others. A fine example of Officer Ryan’s rage fueling itself and redoubling would be when he called his father’s HMO, “I keep telling you my father is in pain… What does my father do about sleeping tonight? I don’t know I’m not a doctor. I wanna talk to your supervisor. I am my supervisor. Yeah, what's your name? Shaniqua Johnson. Shaniqua, Big fucking surprise that is!” Shortly after, he pulls over an African American couple, Cameron Thayer and Christine Thayer, and proceeds to search them, knowing that their car isn’t the one that’s been stolen. He proceeds to search the couple especially the wife in a crude manner. It’s clear to see in that scene that he has no regard for the people whom he holds his anger against. It is evident that what denby claims that “anger fuels itself and redoubles”. As Denby goes on to say, “The intolerant are also human, taking this in mind, this ideology can apply to Officer Ryan when his previous supervisor said “I’m anxious to understand how an obvious bigot could’ve through the department for seventeen years. Eleven of which he was under my personal supervision”, it is not beyond a reasonable doubt that officer Ryan experienced a moment of weakness and the need to take his rage upon others. On the other hand In the case of Officer Hansen, he is portrayed as a young police officer starting out his career in the force and following the lead of his senior officer; however, Officer Hansen tries to not become like his fellow officer Ryan. Boundaries are stretched and become intensely moving in the belief that Officer Hansen tries to hold to be true. A fine scene to prove that “boundaries are stretched and becomes intensely moving” would be in when Officer Hansen lets Cameron Thayer off with a “harsh warning” even when Cameron Thayer was held at gun point and making threatening gestures towards the police officers. Haggis gives an insight of how the police department functions; therefore, he balances the film by giving the perspective of civilians.

The film begins to transition to the black couple that was pulled over, Cameron Thayer and Christine Thayer, were harassed by Officer Ryan. Cameron and Christine are victims of the rage from a police officer. Cameron is mostly affected by the harassment from Officer Ryan and as Christine would put it “When that man was putting his hands on me… I can’t believe you let him do that, baby… I was humiliated for you…I just couldn’t stand to see that man take away your dignity”. Cameron has been deeply affected by her words and begins loathe himself and challenges the police to defend his dignity, and the only way Cameron can do this act is through rage being fueled within him and doubling. Cameron is chased by the Los Angeles police department, an act a man of his socioeconomic stature would...
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