213 of 1001 Movies: Crash (2004)

It’s the movie that famously beat Brokeback Mountain for Best Picture at the 2004 Oscars.This left many stunned. I can see why as well, but I can also see why this was a more appealing pick as a winner. It’s more hopeful and the dark tone is balanced well with a good vibe. I was depressed for days after watching Brokeback Mountain. While this movie was very well put together, acted, and written, there was also something about the movie that felt like it was trying to address an issue ahead of trying to develop characters. The characters suffered development because they became more trains to advertise an issue.

Summary: Graham and Elizabeth are investigating a crime that the movie ties back into by the end, but before it does we will go through a series of events that put us back to that spot. Showing how race, loss, and redemption are interwoven into the setting we see character dealing with who they can depend on most and how deeply their hatred has been seeded against those they strike out against for their own losses.

Acting: The more I see Don Cheadle in the more excited I get about seeing any future movie he is in. He’s just always a person who either chooses fascinating characters or he makes them one especially Graham. I haven’t seen Matt Dillion in much, but he was compelling as John who is a police officer. I found his development to be more one of the more realistic and more natural ones. He’s a complete jerk but by the end it seems something has finally struck home for him more than just trying to get appropriate care for his father at a nursing home. Sandra Bullock is Jean, and this has to be one of her first breakout roles in being taken more seriously as an actresses. She is just great in how she handles her character and needed more of the movie. Her husband is running for a political office, and is portrayed by Brendan Fraser. Ryan Phillipe also makes a rare acting appearance as an officer who is young and seems to just be wanting to change lives. While his character is well written I feel Phillipe just wasn’t the best choice for his part. He doesn’t add much emotion to the character that I wanted to see there.

Filming: The tone of the film is well shot, the color looks great, but somehow it just doesn’t seem to match the vibe of the movie. I feel the movie was going to be a lot darker, and it does have darker moments, but then the tone gets at some point almost supernatural, not quite, but almost. Then the tone that was at first unexpected becomes more cohesive with what is happening. At first it’s just race after race just going through a lot of turmoil, and it’s painful to watch as it should be. Paul Haggis though does tend to focus somehow less on the characters and more on what seems to be a point he wants to make. This makes the whole vibe seem a bit forced.

Plot: Since there are so many characters happening it’s almost like this movie is without plot. I would say that i I had to describe it it would be about how people everyday treat race, and this movie attempts to get the viewer to look at the things we say and be more accountable for how they effect us. It also does hold scenes of redemption, but they don’t hit with the character as much as they should. It’s a good movie though that does weave in powerful moments.

Crash is a movie that I would recommend, but it does get to this point where it’s forcing this connection witht the viewer instead of letting it happen naturally. It is shot beautifully though, and the acting is great from the main cast. Some of the minor actors don’t hit home as well, and there may be one too many character to derive focus. For a movie to try to tackle as much as it does it does well though.

Rating 8 of 10.

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