You think you know who you are. You have no idea.
Terrence Dashon Howard
Running Time: 112 minutes
US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 15
Country: United States
If you ever find yourself standing in your local DVD rental store with a copyof Crash in one hand which promises oodles of car crash erotica and a copy of Crash in the other which looks like a moving drama with a great cast, please please choose the latter.
Crash is a multi-stranded story depicting the racial melting pot of modern day America. There is the Persian shopkeeper (Toub) who struggles with racial harassment, the staunchly racist cop (Dillon), a District Attorney (Fraser) who manipulates PR through racial politics and his suspicious wife (Bullock), well-meaning Hispanic locksmith (Peña), two gangbangers (Ludacris and Tate), a Detective who struggles with the corruption of the police force (Cheadle) and a humiliated black television producer (Howard). These lives inevitably intersect along the way and some characters’ prejudices boil over, some learn lessons and others find out some dark truths about their own views.
The interweaving storyline is perfectly executed. Each set of characters are given enough screentime to give you an accurate idea of who they are and what they stand for, including their positive points and inherent prejudices. No one group is elevated above the other as all are flawed and it is easy to feel equal measures of sympathy and condemnation. Haggis also interestingly explores the effects of society on the individual against the exercising of free will. The result is a lot of thought provoking drama that will stay with you after you’ve watched it for the first time. The drama can be heavy handed and the meetings are a little contrived but this is required to show the social fabric of America in a microcosm.
There are plenty of great performances here as lesser well-known actors, like the Syrian pair of Shaun Toub and Bahar Soomekh, acquit themselves with equal or greater measure than their famous co-stars, like Sandra Bullock and Don Cheadle. Matt Dillon is at his brooding best and even Ludacris is disturbingly good playing a verbose gang member.
It's Got: Great acting by a quality cast, lots of thought provoking drama, an atmospheric soundtrack.
It Needs: Not to be confused with the film of the same name about people who get off on having sex at the scenes of car crashes.
DVD Extras Directors introduction and commentary alongside Producer/Co-writer Robert Moresco and actor Don Cheadle, an extra 3 minutes on the Director's Cut version of the film, trailers for other Lion Gate films, behind the scenes featurette and music video - not too shabby but not amazing. DVD Extras Rating: 6/10
Deserving of the praise lavished upon it, Crash’s excellent cast of unknowns and A-Listers deliver a thought provoking depiction of the racial fabric of modern day America.