into each other for some kind of human contact"
Los Angeles, a city like no other. The car is king and no
one every meets another as the population travel around city encased in
metal, plastic and glass. Tensions are high as the different races, religions
and cultures seldom mix, breeding mistrust and fear of anything that is
different. It a car crash to bring people together and in the heat of that
exchange dialogue is opened and people actually interact. LA is a city like
Interweaving stories of people's lives over a short time period
is nothing new in movie but this small snippet into the social problems
of Los Angeles is a captivating one.
Paul Haggis's feature film directorial debut is an impressive
piece of cinema. The screenwriter of 'Million Dollar Baby' takes a look
at the fragile balance that exists in LA between the races, religions and
cultures that make up the population of the city. The film examines the
increasing levels of mistrust, resentment, misunderstanding and fear that
engulfs LA, as people to go about their lives.
Here we see thirty-six hours in the lives of a group of people
whose paths cross in various different and dramatic ways. We have an Iranian
shopkeeper, a Latino locksmith, a bigoted LAPD police officer, a fear filled
District Attorney's wife, a preaching car-jacker, a TV director been discriminated
against, a DA who'll do anything to win over the ethnic vote and a detective
with family problems. All of these characters come from different backgrounds,
social classes and areas of the city but all them have one thing in common,
the mistrust of the people of LA.
While 'Crash' might seem like a statement on racism it is
much more than that. The film is about the separation of the cultures and
races within the city and lack of interaction that breeds misunderstanding
and mistrust that escalated into fear. Here we see the upper class fearing
every minority, black people who have money fearing the LAPD and how they
are seen in the work, Iranians thinking everyone is against them, LAPD officers
mistrusting their fellow officers over racial opinions and young black American's
thinking everyone is against them and all white people are racists. Each
story is treated extremely realistically with the minimum amount of cliché,
portraying the city and its citizens as a population on the edge of collapse.
Bringing these stories and characters to live are some exceptional
performances from the ensemble cast. Don Cheadle is one of the finest actors
working in cinema today and his role as Detective Graham Waters proves this
again. He is a well-respected member of the LAPD who sees the racial struggle
on a day-to-day basis but his family problems keep encroaching into his
job and life. Sandra Bullock leaves her usual rom-com persona behind to
deliver a very honest and truthful performance as Jean Cabot, the wife of
the District Attorney and a woman of wealth and status that has a mistrust
of any ethnic minority. Ryan Phillippe and Matt Dillon are exceptional as
two LAPD officers with very different views on how to interact with people
of other races. Brendan Fraser plays the DA very well, thinking only about
votes and not about the real problems of the city. Terrance Dashon Howard
and Thandie Newton are excellent as a well to do black couple witness racism
first hand and have two different reactions to it. Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges
tackles his most dramatic role yet and shows great promise. With the rest
of the cast been just as good it is hard to think of a better ensemble in
'Crash' is brilliantly acted and expertly written. Dealing
with a subject matter like this was never going to be easy and the film
hardly ever descends into clichés. While there are a few stereotypes here,
they are dealt with realistically, giving reason for them and outlining
their fears and objections. This is a film that highlights the problems
but offers few solutions, stressing the problems that Los Angeles currently
PICTURE & SOUND
Presented in Widescreen 2.35:1 Anamorphic with Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack,
the transfer is extremely good.
Audio Commentary with writer/producer/director Paul Haggis, writer/producer
Bobby Moresco and actor/producer Don Cheadle
This is a chatty and informative commentary track from a trio of filmmakers
that are very involved and invested in the movie. The group talk about
the reasoning behind the film, discussing its influences and the myriad
of character that populate the movie. They also talk about the truth and
honesty of the piece and what they were striving to achieve with the movie.
This is a good commentary from three people who feel really passionate
about the film.
DVD introduction by writer/producer/director Paul Haggis (0.18 mins)
The man behind the film gives a brief introduction to the DVD transfer.
Behind the Scenes (10.09 mins)
Writer/producer/director Paul Haggis, producer Cathy Schulman, screenwriter
Bobby Moresco and stars Thandie Newton, Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle and
Brendan Fraser talk about their involvement in 'Crash'. A story about
how strangers affect other strangers, the cast and crew talk about the
realistic approach to the film and the honesty on how it treats relationships,
racism and Los Angeles itself.
Music Video (4.21 mins)
Watch the promotional music video entitled 'If I…' by Kansascali, which
includes footage from the movie.
Trailer (2.24 mins)
Watch the full, theatrical trailer for the movie
Previews of 'The Aristocrats', 'The Business', 'Oliver Twist', 'In Her
Shoes' and 'Nightwatch'
A character driven, ensemble piece is never going to be a bonus feature
packed DVD and 'Crash' doesn't change that statement. The commentary track
is good but the rest of the features are very standard and quite short.
This aside, the DVD is really a showcase for the film and not how it was
made and the DVD covers just enough to keep fans satisfied.
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