Crash, nominated for six Academy Awards and won Best Picture, deserves all the praise it got when it came out. The movie tries to get to the bottom of racism, prejudice, and discrimination in modern America. It makes people think about their own tendencies to create and spread stereotypes.
More importantly, it does this without making accusations, pointing fingers, or pushing a political agenda. In fact, Crash talks about the problems with political correctness and how some people have let other people’s opinions cloud their own, which is often bad for them. It is a thoughtful social commentary wrapped in a story full of conflict and suspense. Crash was written and filmed by Million Dollar Baby screenwriter Paul Haggis.
In Crash, many characters who live in or near Los Angeles deal with racism, prejudice, and stereotypes in their everyday lives. After being robbed of her car, Jean Cabot (Sandra Bullock) has trouble trusting her instincts, putting her on the edge of a mental breakdown. While this is happening, police officer John Ryan (Matt Dillon), who is prejudiced because of his father’s bankruptcy years ago, bothers African-Americans.
After a traumatic experience with Officer Ryan, Lucien (Dato Bakhtadze) and his wife Elizabeth (Karina Arroyave) find that their own biases and self-perceptions are coming to the surface in their marriage. Ryan’s hatred has ripple effects, a theme that comes up repeatedly in conversations between store owners, locksmiths, detectives, and hockey fans. In short, Crash tries to shock its audience into realizing that racism has huge effects, no matter how “small” we think those attitudes are.
The people in Crash are great. Don Cheadle graduated from the front desk of The Golden Girls spin-off Golden Palace by giving a second blockbuster performance within a few months (Hotel Rwanda would be the other). Like the other characters in the movie, Cheadle’s Graham doesn’t have enough time to fully develop, but he still comes across as a sympathetic and flawed person. The same can be said about how Officer John Ryan was played by Matt Dillon.
He’s not just a skinhead who spreads hate; he’s a caring person who became prejudiced because of bad things that happened to him as a child. Ultimately, the audience sees his good side like many other movie characters.
Overall, Crash is a great movie living up to all the buzz and praise. For the average viewer, it will make them feel many different things, like hatred for racism, disgust at how cruel people can be to each other, empathy, self-reflection, and a sense of how their prejudices may affect others.
Paul Haggis does a great job of showing what happens when people have attitudes that are racist, prejudiced, discriminatory or based on stereotypes. He does this without blaming anyone or pointing fingers. Everyone is to blame; no race, class, gender, or idea is safe. Crash also looks into the depths of American racism by talking about the unintended effects of affirmative action and political correctness.
This reluctance to stick to an ideology in the letter gives Crash its broad appeal. By not being preachy, the movie can better connect with people from all different backgrounds and points of view. It’s a fun movie to watch. We can also hope that it makes us all think twice about how we treat each other. If that’s the case, Crash is more than just a movie; it’s an event that changes the world.