Upstream. A Mohawk Valley Blogzine.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Crash (2004) - Film Review

With “Crash”, we are delivered a masterful film with a message, one that touches the subject of racism. Such a filmmaker as Paul Haggis, who directed, co-produced, and co-wrote, should be respected for his accomplishment--for sending a message without hitting the viewer over the head with it. When dealing with volatile issues, one treads a fine line between being melodramatic and tepid (with many message films veering towards the former), but Haggis hits the right balance throughout about, I’d say, 95 % of the time...an acceptable percentage for me.

Haggis is able to succeed, though, because of his approach. Though many claim he tackles the issue of racism, he is actually wisely taking on the real problem behind racism: intolerance. Whereas many similar-themed films tend to drift into a depiction of the ignorance of one race resulting in the mistreatment of another, Haggis unearths the intolerance in all men of all colors towards those who are different.

“Crash”, though, shines not only in its willingness to show the ignorance of all types of people, but also in the way it shows it. Using an amazing ensemble cast, a series of interrelated stories are presented to us, each one effectively connected to another, each one constantly surprising in its revelation about a character’s thoughts and ability to change those thoughts. These multiple, yet interconnected, threads allow us to examine a variety of viewpoints in all their complexity and with all their consequences, good and bad.

That “Crash” is an effective and brilliantly made film is an opinion recently supported by the announcement of the Academy Award nominations, where it captured six nominations including Best Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, and Supporting Actor. A film of such caliber shines the light not only on Haggis, but on all who helped bring it to fruition. Special recognition should me made of co-writer Bobby Moresco, cinematographer J. Michael Muro, and music composer Mark Isham. And, of course, of one of the greatest casts in recent years outside of a Tarantino film. Critically-acclaimed talents, underrated box-office stars, and talented newcomers all work together, all delivering equally beautiful performances: Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Tony Danza, Matt Dillon (delivering the films Oscar-nominated performance), Jennifer Esposito, William Fichtner, Brendan Fraser, Terrence Howard, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Thandie Newton, Ryan Phillippe, Marina Sirtis, Larenze Tate, Keith David, Nona Gaye, and Michael Pena.

It is hoped that, when other films with something to say come forth, that they say it as well. 3 and a 1/2 stars.

1 Comments:

  • couldn't agree more.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:23 PM  

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