Sunday, April 16, 2006

"Crash" Review and Analysis

Genre: Drama
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon and more
Director: Paul Haggis
Runtime: 113min

Notes: Won the Best Motion Picture Oscar for the year 2005

"It's the sense of touch. In any real city, you walk, you know? You brush past people, people bump into you. In L.A., nobody touches you. We're always behind this metal and glass. I think we miss that touch so much, that we crash into each other, just so we can feel something." -Graham (Character played by Don Cheadle)


Crash is a movie you have to see multiple times. And I can make you sure you won´t get bored for a second. When you turn on your DVD and start watching, from the very first second, you sink into the character´s souls. The movie starts with the end. You may not understand it now, but as soon as you see it, you will know what I am talking about.

Lets get into the movie. The intelligence of the start is mind blowing. Don Cheadle saying the lines you see above is probably the best introduction to the movie the director could give to the audience. Its so intelligent, so full of an American reality, so full of a desperation, so full of OUR own feelings. And the relation to the movie as a whole is brilliant. The city of LA is presented as a place where nobody would like to live, like a dead place. And that is another important point of the movie.

The racial problem presented in the movie is so shocking yet so brilliantly presented at the spectator has no choice but to believe. "To Believe", yes, the phrase whith which I would describe the movie´s racial problem. "Ludacris" was a great presentation of the Black person feeling oppressed by the white society. He tried to find in everything possible a reason why white hate black people. He reclects the feeling of a certainly more and more opressed black community in Los Angeles. But who is this Ludacris in the movie? A thief, yes, a thief. And here is where the word "Stereotype" comes in. And later in the movie, we see Sandra Bullock talking about this stereotype. She says something like this: "If a white woman sees a black man and crosses the street, she is considered a racist. But if a black man assaults a white woman, he is not considered a racist". This character that Sandra played superbly, is a clear representation of an ordinary person living in LA. The constant fight between RACISM and STEREOTYPES. And Sandra´s hunsband in the movie kills the fly with this sencence: "Why did the thief had to be black!". The rotten values of this DA is a representation of the rotten values of the rich or "high" class society not only in LA, but in the whole world. Bullock´s dissatisfaction with her life is so real for people in her shoes, that the movie MUST have an impact on the rich classes.

Matt Dillon is a typical LA cop. But when we get to know him better, we find out he is not very ordinary. His father´s suffering changes him completely. The fact that a black doctor is in charge of his father and is not able to help him, makes him a racist. At the begging, we stongly feel against him, at least, the not racist people. But as the movie progresses, we have no choice but to ask ourselves this question: "Is he a good guy or a bad guy?". I will leave this question to you to think. But the fact he nearly rapes a black woman, the fact that we expresses like a stong racist will never be erased from his reputation. But the fact he saves the same woman he almost rapes and the fact he suffers because of his father´s illness raised me this question. I still have not found a definite answer to this question...

And then come in the touching story of the latino guy, played excelently by Michael Pena. This, obviously, former gang member, is probably the only character we feel with 100%. We clearly see a struggle to make a better life and to gave his daughter the safety she needs. The problem is that he really looks like a gang member, making people not trusting him. With this, the director definitely want to criticize the "Appearence" stereotype. But in this case its a little twisted. Normally, we say that appearances lie when we see a rich, clean, good looking person being bad. But in this case, we see a relatively poor person, have a gang-member appearence being a great person. Being the perfect father and the perfect husband. We see his past haunting him thoughout the movie, which is something the director wants to appeal to.

Probably the most important and the story most difficult to understand is the story of Graham, a detective played by Don Cheadle. His mother constantly chasing him, just because he did not fulfilled a stereotype made for him. He has a brother, a thief, and that son is the only person his mother cares about. Being just stereotypicaly black was a satisfaction for the mother. And Cheadle making progress and being a detective is nothing for her. The mother fill also a stereotype of a black mother in a poor LA neighborhood. Being a junky is, I think, the least of her vices. Don Cheadle is, as the latino guy, haunted by this constant pressure, making him feeling bad and guilty at the end of the movie.

Some great and other appearances and denounces we can see in the movie are very important as well. For example, the geography problem may sound funny to you but I think its a very big problem of the United States. The completely and 100% US stereotype "A latino person is ALLWAYS from Mexico" is greatly, fearsfully and stongly presented in the movie. Jeniffer Esposito saying something like this: "My parents are from El Salvador and Puerto Rico, where the hell do you see Mexico there?" is a fantastic denounce on 1). The US geography school system 2). "Gringo" ignorance and 3). Stereotypes. Very well and brilliantly done by Haggis.

Probably one of the most shocking moment of all the movie is with the Asian immigrants. The last seconds of the movie appeal SOOOO much to the viewer as no other part of this movie. The fact that the Asian´s are called inmediately Chinese is another denounce similar to the "Mexico" denounce. But the part most appealing to the senses is when the little Asian boy is dropped in the middle of Chinatown in LA. Completely dirty, weak, amazed and dissoriented looks into the video game shop, beautifuly arranged and light. We see his face and clearly from his eyes, looking into the shop, we see a message: "Promised Land". But after seeing this movie, the viewer must wonder: "Is this really true??"

After seeing "Crash" I am not the same person as I was before. And I am sure you are not either. This movie is brilliant and probably the BEST ever released. The racial problems, the class differences, xenofobia, illegal inmigration, drug problems, theft, sexual disscrimination and much more topics come into ONE single movie. "Crash" will remain as probably the best movie of this decade and I must say that very deserved!!! After watching the movie, you must ask ourselves: "Is really Disneyland, Las Vegas casino´s, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Miami Beach, the Statue of Liberty REALLY the reflection of the true United States of America???" "Is the whole world like this???".

PS: It was impossible to analyze every single character in the story. If I ommited something important, it was not on purpose.

My rating of the movie: 10 out of 10