Crash
Directed by: Paul Haggis
(DEJ Productions)
Paul Haggis, screenwriter of Clint Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby, is Canadian, and has said his outsider’s viewpoint allowed him to make an objective film about racism in America. If that’s true, why does it feel so false and heavy-handed? An ensemble cast of actors including Matt Dillon, Don Cheadle and Terrence Howard play an economically and racially diverse group of Los Angelenos who come into conflict with one another in the course of a sticky couple of days. Though kudos are due for the effort to make a mainstream movie that addresses these issues, every scene is spring-loaded to either sustain or buck stereotype, from paranoid suburbanite (Sandra Bullock) to carjacking philosopher (Ludacris). Characters live only to service the unrealistic plot polemic, and a picture like this demands realism to make its case—Lawrence Kasdan understood that when he made one in 1991 and called it Grand Canyon. Crash doesn’t deserve to be considered among the best of the year as it will be at this year’s Oscars and, trite as it may sound, shame on a Canadian filmmaker for appropriating a movie title used by David Cronenberg less than 10 years ago.
—Carsten Knox

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