Crash (2004)

Directed by Paul Haggis
Written by Paul Haggis and Robert Moresco
(number 460)

This movie starts with a car crash and racism. Woo ! In fact the whole movie is about racism and the culture of it that exsits in Los Angeles and pretty much made me want to a) never live in L.A. b) do something for the benefit of other races than myself.

I want to say that the actors were brave to play these incredibly racist characters, but I don’t know. Maybe it’s just realistic, and not even that much of a stretch. It’s kind of nice to see Ryan Phillipe again, I mean, I had such a crush on him when he was in Cruel Intentions but his career kind of fizzled. That said his character is one of just many incredibly problematic characters.

The scene where Matt Dillon’s horribly racist cop pulls over the black couple and then sexually abuses the wife, played by Thandie Newman is just… so awful to watch. It’s subverted beautifully later on when he’s on the scene of a car crash and trying to help her out of the flipped car, she sees who he is and starts protesting ‘not you, not you’ and there’s this look on his face where he just doesn’t understand, maybe doesn’t even recognise who she is. It’s extremely powerful cinema.

I had a horrible feeling that he wasn’t going to save her but he did and I am thankful for that, at the very least.

Then of course, you have the moment where you think everything has gone horribly wrong with the locksmith character, who had told his daughter a story about an invisible cloak that makes you invincible… but thankfully the store owner’s daughter bought him blanks rather than actually bullets. Argh, this movie is really quite horrible to watch.

It puts me in mind of End of Watch a bit because of the setting and the cop characters and the racism, but Crash has none of the humour or loveable characters that End of Watch did.

I found the soundtrack kind of distracting/ overbearing. Cleolinda coined a term for the sweeping/wailing music used to show emotional scenes are happening as ‘Our Lady of Soundtrack sorrow’ and Our Lady was definitely busy in this film.

Does it make me love the people?
I dunno…. maybe it makes me want to love the people. It shows people’s good sides as well as the nastiness they are capable and how easy it is to dehumanise another person based on their race. Right down to actual human trafficking…I got very upset at times though, so yes. It makes me love the people and then it makes me hate them a bit, or it shows how flawed they are and sadly barely shows them learning and if it does show them learning it’s very small steps being taken.

Bechdel test: It does pass, and quite early on too. Sandra’s character Jean talks to her cleaner, Maria about whether the dishes are clean and snaps at her.

Also Lara talks to her mother Elizabeth, mostly in a ‘mommy!’ ‘what?!’ back and forth before Lara starts referring to her Daddy but it still passes for the first bit.

Best line:
Lara: I’ll protect you, Daddy.

Graham: I swear to you, Mom. I’ll find whoever killed him.
Graham’s Mother: Oh, I already know who killed him. You did. I asked you to find your brother, but you were too busy for us. We weren’t much good to you anymore, were we? You got things to do. You go ahead. I’ll sign the papers.

State of Mind: Urgh. I hate racism and privilege so much. Urgh urgh urgh.

Watched movie count

Well, it’s not race based, but I do encourage you to donate to kidscan to help out kids in need in New Zealand. Any recommendations for other places to donate or in fact, ways to make the world a better plac would be gratefully received in the comments…


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