Review: Crash (2004)


You’re racist, I’m racist, everyone is racist, don’t you ever forget it jack!

Screenplay By: Paul Haggis & Robert Moresco
Directed By: Paul Haggis

This movie won the Oscar for Best Picture? The mind boggles, creaks and almost cracks at such a preposterous notion. I don’t like to label films as terrible or nonredeemable, but Crash is such a movie. It is melodramatic to the extreme, over the top, full of actors making sure we know they are acting, ridiculous coincidences and scenarios, characters so fake they make Batman look 100% believable, stereotypes all over the place and a message on racism so heavy handed that if you watch this movie more than once I am convinced your head will be bludgeoned to the shape of a pancake.

I honestly am at a loss for anything positive to say about Crash, that’s how abhorrently bad of a film it manages to be. I live in the real world and believe it or not but every person I come across isn’t racist, there are actually some remarkably chill people out there. Nor is my life interconnected with every single person I come across and I live in the suburbs, not a giant city like Los Angeles. There were so many moments when I would look at my TV screen and simply say “c’mon” in derision over what was transpiring before my eyes. The few moments that try for drama, like the scene where the little girl saves her father from the bullet, end up being laughably bad because of how overacted they are. I really have to stop, because I could fill paragraph after paragraph with the faults contained in Crash.

I’ll do you a favor, and I’ll take the bullet. I’ve seen Crash, it is terrible, there’s no need for you to subject yourself to it as well. If you have already seen it then I join you in shared misery, but if you haven’t then avoid Crash at all costs, your life will be much better for it. Great Odin, this was a terrible, terrible movie, the type that makes me believe when I step outside my house that my neighbor is going to shoot me, not because he’s bad, but because he’s Mexican, I’m white and that’s what people do. Incredibly false, but remember, in the world of Crash, you’re a racist, I’m a racist, everyone’s a racist.




9 responses to “Review: Crash (2004)

  1. Assume nothing bill.

    I as well have watched Crash, and yet I shall not be joining you in your pain. I happened to find it a fine film. Now I’ll give you a moment or two to shout and cuss. Come back in about 5.

    Alright then. When watch Crash (which I saw twice in fact), I see it has intentional exageration. It isn’t a movie trying for subtlety. Rather, it is using stereotypes and fabricated coincidences to make a point. It’s racism taken to an extreme within a North American context (I won’t say extreme in the general sense since other countries have shown far worse examples of racism). It wants to be an exageration, it wants to show the viewer something up front, ham fisted and exagerated. It shows scene after scene of the existing and very much alive underlying racism in North America (I’m not a fool. I am indeed including Canada in this) exploding. That’s where it worked for me. There are people still living today who hate the guts of others because of their skin colour. Crash is the movie when all that comes to the boiling point, the tipping point. One push too far, one comment too much, and certain people reveal their true colours. And even then, I’m not so certain everything in the film is an exageration. Just because you haven’t met people of the same ilk as are found in the film does not mean they are unrealistic.

    It won an Oscar? I don’t care since I couldn’t give a hoot about those awards. But as a film with a specific subject matter, I think it works. As odd as it may seem, I believe that the film is effective precisely because it is being ham fisted.

  2. I’m not a fan of ham fisted or heavy handed message delivery. I respect the fact that it worked for you in Crash, but I like my message delivery to be a bit more subtle or true to life.

    My other counters, Canada can not possibly contain any racists, the nation that invented Hockey can’t be racist, simple as that. Also, I’m not saying that people such as the ones in Crash don’t exist, I happen to have grown up with some people like that. Rather my point is that they aren’t everyone, not every single person is racist, and that’s the image that Crash propagates, that even the most stalwart individual is a racist underneath it all.

    Good points though, especially for a Canuck.

  3. I agree with Edgarchaput. It’s not the best film ever made, or the best film about racism ever made, but it’s witty and entertaining, even in its hamhandedness.

  4. While I won’t deny that your comments towards Canada are flattering, I’m sorry to reject them. Dig up some info on the treatment of First Nations Peoples (what I believe Americans call Native Americans). It’s really, really pathetic and I sincerely believe I’m being generous.

    Back to Crash though. I understand your argument about not everyone behaving in real life as they do in the film. Very valid. I don’t think we’re going to arrive on the same page about this, but it goes back to my initial reply when I said the intentional fabrications are the movie’s strengths. Crash is like an exposé on racism. It’s taking many specific examples of racism and cramming them into a single story. For those reasons, the film can appear has heavy handed and un-subtle, but I think that’s exactly what it was going for.

    Anyways, keep up the good work.

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  6. Harlan – I didn’t find anything about the film witty or entertaining, just droll and heavy handed. But, to each their own.

    Edgar – I was being tactful in leaving the First Nations out, trust me I know that pretty much every country has a terribly racist past. If the film was going for heavy handed, then that means it’s not the film for me.

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  8. Hi Bill, I agree with you about it being “melodramatic to the extreme.”

    I wrote a short essay on Crash and Detective Ryan, focusing on the difference between racism and racial prejudice. I think you will like my essay better than you did the film.

  9. I detest the film, so there’s a good chance of that, yes. 🙂

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