Crash Movie Video Reflection
Artifact: Crash. Dir. Paul Haggis. Lionsgate, 2004. DVD.
Describe: The 2004 film, Crash, tells a series of stories between seemingly unrelated characters of different races. The story begins with a car crash between Detective Graham Waters (Don Cheadle), along with his Hispanic partner, and an Asian woman who begins to shout racist insults at her after the “crash.” Detective Waters goes to the nearby crime scene to notice a shoe on the ground and soon after all that is revealed is the shocked and upsetting face that overtakes him. As the story progresses we begin to see different acts of random racism such as a Persian man buying a gun to protect his store and the racist speaking gun salesman, two young African Americans are looked at with racial fear by a Caucasian woman (Sandra Bullock) who is soon robbed by the young black men, and finally we see an unbelievable racial profiling act by police officer John Ryan (Matt Dillon) against a black couple. The couple are driving a car that matches the description of the stolen car shown one scene earlier, but the license plate, nor the description of the couple match the stolen vehicle’s perpetrators. We soon find out they were pulled over for merely being black. After a few short scenes that slowly begin tying the characters to one another we meet Hispanic locksmith Daniel Ruiz (Michael Peña), who is changing the locks at the earlier noted Caucasian woman’s house, after noticing that her locksmith is of Mexican decent, she goes on enraged racial rant and demands the Godwin 2
locks be changed again simply because of his race. Later in the story we see Daniel again as he is changing the locks of the fore mentioned Persian store owner’s establishment. He proceeds to inform the Persian that he replaced the lock but the door is broken and needs to be fixed, due to a language barrier the store owner is outraged as he misunderstands Daniel’s explanation. After more short story molding scenes we find out that due to the broken door, the Persian man’s store has been broken into, he becomes outraged and blames the locksmith. The most astounding part of the story occurs soon after when the outraged store owner seeks compensation and revenge from Daniel at gunpoint. Just before shooting him, Daniels young daughter jumps into his arms to protect him and bang, the gun fires directly at her. Daniels face is horrified, as is the store owners, but seconds later both realize she is unharmed. Due to the conflict with the gun salesman earlier in the story, The Persian accidentally purchased “blank” bullets which have all the bark of a real bullet, but none of the bite. The Persian firing a blank bullet at young Ruiz is one of many astonishing plot twists that can be found in this movie, but it is certain to be the crowd favorite. The story then moves to one of the young African Americans, Peter (Larenz Tate), hitching a ride from an off duty police officer, Tom Hanson (Ryan Phillippe) who is coincidentally partners with the previously noted racist police officer John Ryan. As they converse an argument breaks out and Peter is being asked to leave the car but upon reaching for something in his pocket, which the Officer Hanson believes to be a gun, Peter is shot by Tom. As Peter slowly fades his hand opens slowly to reveal a religious statue matching the one on the dash board of Officer Hanson’s Godwin 3
car. Tom is distraught and pushes Peter’s body out of the car and flees the scene. The next scene takes viewers back to the opening and reveals that the shoe that Detective Waters found belonged to the murdered Peter, his brother. The film hits hard with it’s dramatic and astounding events that are not far from what goes on behind the curtains of our everyday lives.
Analyze: This film is centered around everyday racism and how its effects are not as small as society may think. One incident of racism in any form can carry a long way which can overall lead to devastating and even deadly outcomes. This story was very bold and seemed unlikely, but what was soon shown was that everyday society has problems very similar to these. For some reason racism is brushed off when seen in plain sight, but when in a movie, it ultimately seems exaggerated. The terrible truth is that the movie was not exaggerated, but very similar to racism seen on a regular basis. Does society care? The answer is no, we believe there are bigger problems needing to be faced such as being cool, or doing what we want instead of what we need. If just one person was to stand up against a single display of racism, who knows what king of chain reaction or trend could occur.
Appraisal: Crash was unrealistically eye-opening and astonishing to a point where any viewer would be crazy not to be filled disappointed in themselves. The film shows sides of society in which most are not familiar and depicts racist acts that are unspeakable, yet more common than one may think. This movie was almost too good, it can be considered groundbreaking. Godwin 4
Any person, of any race lucky enough to see this outstanding film will hopefullybenefit as much as I myself did and will see clearly the problems faced by their fellow man from all over the world. No one deserves to be ridiculed because of where they’re from ,or what color their skin is, or what language they speak. We need to honor and respect each other so that we may learn from one another. This movie is and forever will be life changing for any soul that witnesses it.
Transform: Before gaining the knowledge I have from this masterpiece, I would brush of any seemingly racist comments I heard as I believed it not to be my place to commentate on the situation, I may have even thrown a slight (but jokingly) racist remark to a friend who didn’t mind it. I now see that this is not the case, it is my place to comment on any racism I may and most likely will witness in the future. Prior to this film, I could care less about racism and how it may affect someone, and after, I can see that it is more of a hidden problem that I previously believed. I can’t change the world in a day like this movie did for all who viewed it, but I can play my part in putting out the racism I am company to. I am already better from having seen this film and I can guarantee I will see it again and show it to my loved ones to begin spreading the word.