Friday, July 11, 2014
Crash (2004): ...And Burn
dir: Paul Haggis
Original Review (Circa 2006)
Originally Posted to Livejournal and IMDB
I wrote this as a two part review. Part two has spoilers.
No, this isn't that one about the sex with car accidents. This is the one about racism in L.A. You know, the one where everybody is a racist, and race is the topic on everybody's mind at all times. Race.
Its like the movie has a form of Tourette's Syndrome where race is the constant theme. Race. Racist. Racism. Race Relations. Relay race.
Paul Haggis made a movie which took the structure of Magnolia, which was used to show the disconnect of people who are tangentially connected, and then screwed it into a 1'53" mental vomit about racism in America. RACE. In the 24 hour period we have 7 stories running parallel all connected and about race. The first hour, people say ridiculous stuff and do absurd things in an effort to be real about racism in America.
For example, the story with Ludicrous and Larenz Tate provides the comic relief. Too bad, the first half of their story is lifted straight from The Bonnie Situation in Pulp Fiction. RACISM. Their section is the Quentin Tarantino section where, instead of being cool and talking about foot massages and religion, the characters talk about race and racism. CONSTANTLY.
The other good thing about it is the Mexican story when the Mexican guy is talking to his daughter. He gives her his invisible impenetrable cloak to protect her from bullets. Decent writing, but that's only because the writers have had daughters and know what they would say in his place.
The rest of the stories are extremely ludicrous. The Hindi does not act in any semblance of realism. The scene where he's trying to get the lock fixed and the Mexican tells him he needs a new door is abbreviated and stupid. Why would anybody act like that? Is it realistic? NOOO. It reminds me more of the convenience store clerk from The Doom Generation. "Six Dollar Sixty Six Cents girly." If i ever watch the second half of the movie, I hope his head is shot off and his bodiless head starts coughing up relish.
I haven't mentioned race in over a paragraph. RACE. RACISM. RACE FOR THE SUN. Better. Then, there is the black guy who wants to be white, Matt Dillon who has a chip on his shoulder against blacks, Ryan Phillippe who looks beautiful and does nothing, and various other bad actors acting badly with bad dialog. When Matt Dillon molests the black producers wife, could I help it if I was cracking up? When Philippe is second guessing his writing up of his partner for racism, can I help but crack up? The movie is so funny when it is being racist. Racist. RACIST I tell you.
Now, mind you, this movie was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Editing, besides a nod to Matt Dillon who actually did attempt to do a decent job. Who was paid off for that one, I have no clue.
Don't see it unless you feel like being preached at about the racism in society through a bad and unrealistic script from 2 white men over fifty who have no semblance of reality or interaction with real society in any way shape or form.
The second half of Crash takes any and all story lines in the first half...and spews them back out in a sort of redemptive, conclusionary, the world is a big coincidence kind of way. And it is in fact one of the worst ways to do it.
Take 1999's Magnolia. People weren't conveniently tied together over and over again. They were just connected in a strange way that happens more often than you think. You know somebody who knows somebody who did something that you knew somebody else was also involved in. Crash takes this wrapping into a serious extreme.
The stories are lined up so everybody meets again. Are there only 5 on the LAPD force? Aren't these people working weird shifts? Dillon and Philippe were a late shift then an early one the next day? And, why did Tate have to be the murdered hitchhiker? Wouldn't it have had more emotional tension, as well as realism, if it had been somebody we had not been following all day long? Like Phillippe just picks up a random hitchhiker and then freaks out. Everybody'd be freaking out.
Eventually, in the second half, the touching invisible cloak scene is used to get the Hindi to shoot the daughter. It ticked me off and made me feel dirty. Not that the Hindi shot the daughter, but that they created a beautiful touching scene and then had it be the direct cause of people tearing up. It really ticked me off. At the writers, not the scene.
The whole movie is fake and totally uncalled for. The coincidences are far too many and they require an extreme suspension of disbelief. Unlike Magnolia which was connected mildly, this had connections upon connections upon connections which were just so over-the-top. The only good part in the second half was when Sandra Bullock falls down the stairs. She doesn't die though. She should have. I cheered when she fell.
The worst part about the movie is it pulls a Magnolia. Not just in structure, but it has a montage over the song "In the Deep" where you see everybody being depressed. Magnolia took this and had post-modern commentary on it by having all of the characters singing along to Aimee Mann's Wise Up. Unfortunately, Magnolia came out in 1999, while Crash came out in 2005. Its hard to make commentary on a movie which won't be made for another 6 years, but it happened. Somehow.
Utter waste of my time.
First half: D-; Second half: lowest grade ever; Overall: F---