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Friday, July 08, 2005

Crash: A Review

I just saw Crash, and boy what a downer. Shootings, death, racism, corruption--really an all around bad time had by all. I'd like to say here was some light at the end of the tunnel, some hopeful message of perseverance or something gained from the movie, but any such attempt was simply overshadowed by the sheer onslaught of jarring and depressing images and storylines. The point to all of the violence, sadness and loss perhaps was lost on me--there was no purpose to it, no reason, only terrible things happening to what seem to be otherwise hopeful people. Ludicris' performance can only be described as a surprise--he certainly makes Bill O'Reilly's comments about his rap music seem...well..absurd. Clearly he is more intelligent and deep as a performer than his musical stylings (including the memorable, "Move, Bitch, Get out the way") illustrate. Other than that, however, the only thing keeping me from leaving was the hope that some message, some point would be made. Alas, things only became more and more heinous as the film progressed.

The movie's setting--interdependence in an otherwise isolated city (Los Angeles)--is not even resonate at the moment. With my own family merely an amalgamation of individuals in far flung reaches of the country (Nashville, San Francisco and San Diego), I certainly hoped the film would provide some solace for those who are indeed alone. Alas, the movie's turning point--a young girl's magical and invisible cloak prevents a bullet from killing her and her father--relies on the necessity of a higher, external power to which me must appeal for hope. The meaning of this is lacking with the real tragedy that is constantly falling throughout the rest of the film--as if we are suppose to be satisfied about the story of an individual who, fate would have it, missed work yesterday and thus was not killed in the attack on London.

Crash’s themes of racial intolerance are interesting, but ultimately left unresolved. In some ways, one does not expect the film to 'resolve' any issue of the magnitude of racism, but at least offering a tool or path which we may help us with such problems is certainly assumed when a movie graphically shows us the tragedies that result when we act upon such irrational beliefs. In the end, however, we are left watching a black character look black children playing around a burning car in which a white police officer shot and killed a black teenage boy. Spike Lee's film 25th Hour--is a much better testament to race relations than Crash, with one of the most memorable monologues in film presented near the end by Ed Norton. 25th hour offers us a better place to hope for, one in which we may escape the misery and tragedy of everyday life that Crash presents in its most extreme form. Certainly Crash succeeds in its attempt to show us pain and loss at its most severe. Yet it reaches too far attempting to show the irony of individuals of different races both being reliant on one another and hating each other for arbitrary factors. Story lines such as a needless molestation, a heroine-addicted mother, and the insertion of Tony Danza all are all terribly underdeveloped--in the former, a no back-story is given of the perpetrator except his admission of being an "asshole". The audience is left only with vignettes of calamity, evoking sufficient anguish but without any message of salvation (Earthly, anyway) to soothe the grief.