In Crash, a simple car accident forms an uncompromising foundation for the complex discovery of race and prejudice. Paul Haggis' overwhelming and incredibly thought provoking directorial debut succeeds in bringing to the forefront the behaviours that many people keep under their skin. And by thrusting these attitudes toward us with a highly deliberate, reckless abandon, Haggis puts racism on the highest pedestal for our review. There is no better place for this examination than the culturally diverse melting pot of modern-day Los Angeles. In just over 24 hours, Crash brings together people from all walks of life. Two philosophizing black men steal the expensive SUV belonging to the white, L.A. District Attorney, and his high-strung wife. A similar vehicle belonging to a wealthy black television director and his wife is later pulled over by a racist cop and his partner. Soon, many of these people get mixed up with a Latino locksmith, a Persian storekeeper, and two ethnically diverse, dating police detectives. Every confrontation leads to an unwarrantably violent, outward display of racism. Haggis and co-screenwriter Robert Moresco have created scrupulous characters who keep the film's tension near the boiling point with merciless verbal assaults and sordid physical demonstrations of hatred. The characters are portrayed in shades of grey instead of stark black and white; villain and heroes. And that's the primary point Haggis seeks to drive home with Crash. We're all in some way swayed by our preconceptions of others, and our behaviours and attitudes are affected by the situations we find ourselves in. In one example from the film, when the racist cop happens upon a serious traffic accident, he risks his own life to save the life of a black woman trapped inside her car. While, the previous night, he sexually assaulted this same woman while showing off to his rookie partner during a routine traffic stop. Consequently, "Crash" leaves no type of...
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