Most people are born with good hearts, but as they grow up they learn prejudices. “Crash” is a movie that brings out bigotry and racial stereotypes. The movie is set in Los Angeles, a city with a cultural mix of every nationality. The story begins when several people are involved in a multi-car accident. Several stories interweave during two days in Los Angeles involving a collection of inter-related characters, a police detective with a drugged out mother and a mischief younger brother, two car thieves who are constantly theorizing on society and race, the white district attorney and his wife, a racist cop and his younger partner, a successful Hollywood director and his wife, a Persian immigrant father, a Hispanic locksmith and his young daughter. As the movie progresses each character goes through a life changing event that changes their whole perspective. Paul Haggis shows these changes not only through the character’s actions but the mood tone, music, and settings of the movie as well. Paul Haggis introduces the theme of the movie right from the beginning with the very opening line. The opening shots are of headlights and rainy windshields with a voice in the background saying “In LA nobody can touch you, always hiding behind this metal and glass. I think we miss that touch so much we crash into each other just so we can feel something.” Next we see the black police detective with his Columbian partner in the car as a fireman walks over and asks if they are alright. They were in a multi-car collision. The Columbian woman then gets out of the car and walks over to the other woman who is Chinese. The Chinese woman begins screaming “Mexicans don’t know how to drive. She blake to fast.” The detective replies with “Maybe if you saw over the steering wheel you’d blake too.” The male detective then gets out of the car and we are shown a crime scene and a lone puma shoe. This opening scene in which the credits are shown is an important part in relevance to the title and to the overall theme of the movie. Here the director introduces the topic of racism as well as the mood of the film. The director uses a steady face level shot as the camera moves through each character, seeing each one’s anger at the other with dark background colors and soft playing intense music in the background.
In this movie the order in which the scenes are presented is most important because it reveals each character’s story and shows how each story collides with one another and then the resolution resulting from the collision. Paul Haggis presents each scene the same. Each scene is shown in dull, plain colors drawing all emphasize to the colors of the characters. The entire movie has the same sad, depressing music tone that intensifies as each thing happens in that scene. Each scene also abruptly ends and starts right into another, colliding all the scenes together. All of this is symbolic of the movies theme. The scenes are set the same showing the similarities between each character’s lives, stressing there are no differences and showing how all their lives collide. After the credits and the opening murder scene the story cuts immediately back to a scene from two days earlier. A Persian speaking his native language walks into a gun store and is taking a while. The man tells him to plan his attack later and then calls him Osama. He gets angry and begins yelling back in English and the man tells him to leave. His daughter who is with him then asks the man to just sell her the gun and bullets for it so she can leave. He asks what kind and she asks for the red box and the audience is never told what kind of bullets they were.
Anthony and Peter are leaving a restaurant and walking down the street surrounded by bright white Christmas lights and white buildings. Anthony is not very happy about the service he received in the restaurant. “How many cups of coffee did we get?” asks Anthony. Peter then reminds him that Anthony does not drink coffee and Peter...
Cited: Crash. Dir. Paul Haggis Perfs., Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Matt Dillion, Jennifer Esposito, William Fischtner, Brendan Fraser, Terrence Howard, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Thandie Newton, Ryan Phillippe, Larenz Tate, Micheal Pena. 2004. DVD. MMV Lions Gate Entertainment, 2004.
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