Directed by: Paul Haggis
Premise: The film follows the lives of several people involved in a car accident and explores race relations in America.
What Works: Crash is a very quiet film both audibly and visually but the lack of flair works to the film’s advantage and makes it more intense and cerebral. The film balances its character’s plot lines and features some really excellent performances. Some of the standout performances are by Don Cheadle as a police detective, rapper Ludacris as a car thief, Terrence Dashon Howard as a sitcom producer, Sean Toub as a store keeper, and Matt Dillon as a troubled cop. Sandra Bullock and Brendan Fraser are surprisingly effective playing against type. Fraser plays a politically-minded District Attorney and Bullock plays his overtly racist and irritable wife.
What Doesn’t: Most of the characters present extreme points of view on race and as a result the film ignores some of the subtle manifestations of racism in everyday society.
Bottom Line: Crash takes on a very sensitive issue and successfully presents it to the audience not through an overwhelming and patronizing sense of ethos but through a real sensitivity and intelligence about the subject matter. This is likely to be remembered as one of 2005’s best films.
Episode: #54 (June 5, 2005)