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Overall Rating
3.53

Awesome36.63%
Worth A Look: 25.64%
Average: 8.06%
Pretty Bad: 13.19%
Total Crap: 16.48%

13 reviews, 195 user ratings


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Crash (2005)
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by Erik Childress

"NOBODY HAS THE RIGHT TO ACCUSE ME OF RACISM!!!"
4 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2004 TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: Robert Altman probably sits back and wonders sometimes where all his credit is for modernizing the mega-cast plotline. A half dozen stories or more all bumping into one another where characters are stars in one plotline and supporting players in others. Altman’s Short Cuts was a blueprint, Tarantino hipped it up with Pulp Fiction and every hack to auteur has tried it out from romantic comedies to melodrama. TV veteran Paul Haggis is the latest to offer his contribution and it feels less about the gimmick by actually having something to say about racism and fear in this country. Crash may just be missing out on greatness by not going completely epic, but in terms of quality it certainly ranks somewhere in-between 2 Days in the Valley and Magnolia and that’s not too shabby.

Over a series of 48 hours we will catch up to where the film begins, on a fender-bender that warrants a dead body found on the side of the road. A passing detective (Don Cheadle) and his gal pal partner (Jennifer Esposito) just happen to be on the scene and is one of many literal and figurative crashes that occur within the Los Angeles framework.

- The District Attorney (Brendan Fraser) and his wife (Sandra Bullock) are carjacked sending her into an anger-filled paranoia about her safety.

- A black TV director (Terrence Dashon Howard) and his light-skinned wife (Thandie Newton) are harassed by a fed-up cop (Matt Dillon) and his more sensitive partner (Ryan Phillippe).

- Lower-class black youth (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges) espouses his “white devil” conspiracies and their offensive stereotypes while still pulling criminal acts with his friend (Larenz Tate).

- A Persian storeowner (Shaun Toub) constantly mistaken for an Arab buys a gun to protect his American dream over the objections of his daughter (Bahar Soomekh).

- A Mexican locksmith, confused for being nothing more than a “Homie” is actually quite the Homer and a loving family man.

Nothing in those labels is shied away from in Crash. Since language is absolutely crucial to the earshot of simplifying racism, the screenplay never approaches it for shock value but a normal conversational tone that shows these characters never thinking about what they say; they just say it. Sometimes it’s humorous, normally out-of-line but occasionally frightfully true in their reality. Never is that more the case than Ludacris’ hateful rant against Caucasians only to immediately confirm their fears as fact. The film’s biggest laugh is actually a generational slam about where a certain ethnic group parks their cars.

Should you be weary of laughing? Not necessarily since in the context, of which it’s spoken, is meant as both a joke and a parting shot at a lover. The person who says it is not inherently racist; in fact he may be the most ethical human being in the lot that we follow. One of Haggis’ strengths is to never pigeonhole racism as mere one-sided hate and how the heat of the moment should never allow anyone to be branded a racist for the rest of their days. A bad day, a cut-off in traffic or a previous traumatic experience can lead anyone into the safe haven of racial profiling and those who will use the race card against such people can be just as hypocritical since it’s such a powerful one against amateur poker players.

Crash’s story structure may have one coincidence too many for skeptics (both involving traffic malfeasances) but that shouldn’t allow them to dismiss such happenstance as an overriding suspension of their belief in the material. Magnolia was ALL about such twists of fate but naturally there are going to be more than one connection between this group of people. That’s why we’re following them in the first place instead of Joe the Dumptruck Driver. Even the initial silliness of a fate such as Bullock’s makes more sense than Alanis Morrisette’s “Ironic” when you apply it to the perspective of her fears.

Performances are terrific across-the-board, with only Fraser being denied much of a presence. Keith David, Tony Danza and William Fichtner all pop-in single scenes and do great work fanning the flames. Crash might have been served better by actually adding a further half-hour or so to the proceedings to flesh out a few of the plot strands. Surely there’s enough material in our society to stir the kettle a bit more before serving. But Haggis certainly makes his point, turning the screws on a nation’s anxieties and helping light the way of personal responsibility through conversation and, if need be, a little divine intervention, whomever your divine may be. Crash is bold, scary, moving and ultimately very sad that there may be no final answers until our time is up.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=10448&reviewer=198
originally posted: 09/23/04 02:03:29
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Toronto Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Toronto Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell dated preachy & forgotten 2 stars
5/04/16 Karl Gustav The Film have the best Screenplay ever !!!!!!!! 5 stars
4/30/15 Jeff WIlder Overly contrived, But has its good points. Dillon is fantastic. 4 stars
12/12/14 Koira Veri nice 4 stars
6/22/14 Paul from Philly Unbelievably ridiculous, implausible stupidity. 1 stars
2/12/14 Brad Terrible film which capitalizes on the "pain bodies" Eckart Tolle speaks of. 1 stars
6/25/12 moby doug Manipulative, sensationalized, emotionally dishonest, implausible. Excellent cast. 2 stars
3/16/12 Archie_Leach bombastic manipulative "shove-the-message-down-the-throat" propagandistic trash 1 stars
2/23/12 Anya Not a spark of talant! 1 stars
1/31/12 hurdygurdy man Screenplay from another planet, NOBODY acts/talks like this, so bad - borders on hilarity! 1 stars
11/07/11 cpb Couldn't agree more. 1 stars
6/28/11 chris LOL 5 stars
6/06/11 Dorothy I like these types of movies 4 stars
5/19/11 Roshacla Terrible movie. A hollow pretentious mess that assumes it is worth caring about. 2 stars
3/06/11 Hannah It was interesting, but very long and depressing. 3 stars
11/24/10 Mike There was no story. There was no point to any of it. It was just "hey look, racism!" 1 stars
5/26/10 Brandon Best Screenplay, Best picture @Academy? 4 stars
5/19/10 ikkin74 Not a fan at all. 3 stars
1/31/10 Katherine I was so glad to read this review - it affirmed all that I thought watching this drivel. 1 stars
12/21/09 amy Hated the thought of having to watch movie but it turned out to be very very good. 4 stars
11/25/09 Tom McClellan Pretentious yahoo Cornelius thinks Haggis is a pretentious yahoo. 4 stars
10/26/09 Mike Workman Thank God for David Cornelius. This movie is utter garbage. 1 stars
10/08/09 Kay D. This film really kept me attention. I liked it a lot. 4 stars
7/08/09 *Holy_J@lapeno* WOW this movie is simply amazing. Will drop your draw toward the end! 5 stars
7/01/09 Therm A discussion-starter sure, but good lord Best Picture!? All premise, no substance, TRITE 2 stars
6/01/09 GD It is really good story!! 4 stars
5/23/09 Jeff Wilder Raised some very good questions. Not quite up there with Do The Right Thing. 4 stars
2/18/09 Sean Cry more, this movie is amazing. 5 stars
2/11/09 meryl it was breathtaking but too many coincidences it touches on the problems of toady 4 stars
2/11/09 Lynda This was one of the best films I have ever hated watching. Made me think long after. 5 stars
10/03/08 Anthony E Awful and lazy filmmaking. Beyond horrid. Cronenberg's CRASH is the one to see. 1 stars
10/02/08 Shaun Wallner Awesome story! 5 stars
6/11/08 Dawn MCPike loved this movie and would watch it again and again! 4 stars
6/10/08 caleb Havalotti this writer shows his own intelligence calling the Persian shopkeeper Iraian...ironic 5 stars
6/06/08 Jessay Boring, stereotypical nonsense. 1 stars
5/16/08 PAUL SHORTT A GRIM, HISTRIONIC EXPERIMENT IN VEHICULAR METAPHOR SLAUGHTER 3 stars
4/03/08 beau fantasically acted, and this was a realistic portrayal of racism in some parts of america 4 stars
3/10/08 Miss Pretty sure anybody who doesn't like this movie is mentally retarted, it's amazing 5 stars
1/26/08 Pamela White moral a person's perception is everything 4 stars
12/09/07 Sam Eli it's a simplistic 2 hour soap opera with overly sensationalist scenes & melodrama 2 stars
11/17/07 Nathan I wasn't impressed by this movie at all (rather disgusted in fact) 1 stars
11/13/07 cody a very good movie with true meaning and great actors, a best picture winner indeed 4 stars
10/24/07 Ivana Mann Perfect example of Hollywood whitewashing important issues.Simplistic & condescending! 1 stars
10/16/07 Hilary Intresting... 4 stars
7/27/07 Hello Stranger like we need to know more about racism. brokeback mountain deserved oscar, not this. 1 stars
6/12/07 mb A Very Good Movie About People 5 stars
5/09/07 steve newman I think this was a good attempt - very enjoyable 4 stars
5/08/07 Jennifer i love intertwiney movies. this one was flawless, with a message to boot! 5 stars
5/04/07 Nana It's not about the film, it's about people being ignorant about the whole thing. 3 stars
5/01/07 Tracey Chambers great movie,story, and acting. what more do you need 5 stars
4/30/07 Mike One of the first times i think Eric D Snider is wrong, 4,5 star movie 5 stars
4/06/07 Anthony One of the few deserving best oscar winners in years 5 stars
4/03/07 Guido Sanchez Amazing film, if for no other reason than a moving, bold story not told elsewhere sadly! 5 stars
3/09/07 johnnyfog Good performances, and haunting score 4 stars
3/03/07 Phil M. Aficionado Intriguing if viewed as a parable rather than as a slice of life; ingenious script 4 stars
12/29/06 Lauren I'm really surprised that so many people here didn't like it. I thought it was fantastic 5 stars
12/13/06 Lozzia nice movie, made you look again at racism 4 stars
12/06/06 Bart Shallow peace of crap. Just like this review suggests 1 stars
12/01/06 Andy Romero An eye opener. Worth the time to watch. 4 stars
11/14/06 Ernest Alba This has got to be the shallowest pool of users I've seen. Crash was amazing. Period. 5 stars
11/14/06 ras Fantastic the truth offends only intelligent minds would understand the power inits message 5 stars
10/28/06 william shut terrible, pointless 1 stars
10/05/06 Stanley Thai One of the best films...ever. 5 stars
9/26/06 sandra correct your review, persians are not arabs. and that was stated in the movie too! 2 stars
8/24/06 CG great movie, both entertaining and insightful 5 stars
8/15/06 Buck most annoying movie ever seen. hav to be ignorant 4 it to hav any impact 1 stars
8/12/06 Jimbob 14% obviously didn't get it 5 stars
8/01/06 R.W.Welch Has a number of strikingly original scenes. Refreshing. 5 stars
7/28/06 moops i hate this movie 1 stars
6/27/06 Greg outstanding acting!!! i never thought id watch matt dillon without laughing!! 4 stars
6/23/06 Jenn brilliant film with a simple message about racism and the treatment of humans in general 5 stars
6/21/06 Darlene Miller Brillant,passionate,teaches people to learn from their ways and deals with Freud's theories 5 stars
6/20/06 B one pretentious, horrible cliche, I totally agree with David Cornelius! 1 stars
6/19/06 Duncan Worst movie error. Infantile/simplistic plot. Very tryhard. 1 stars
6/18/06 Dan good movie. 4 stars
6/13/06 GIA A VERY RACIST FILM SUPPOSEDLY ABOUT RACISM 1 stars
6/08/06 Heidi Excellent movie showing the incredible power our words and actions can affect others 5 stars
5/29/06 pablo Absolute crap, cliche's paradise, should be next to the definition of shallow. 1 stars
5/28/06 ad very cunning 5 stars
5/25/06 ashley it sucked so bad 1 stars
5/18/06 Baharnoosh not bad...but gives u every clue in the film! 3 stars
5/10/06 omar great movie 5 stars
5/09/06 Nicole L. A bad hollywood version of foreign character films 2 stars
4/24/06 Julie incredibly honest, powerful, and hopeful 5 stars
4/23/06 Simon By its bluntness of subject matter it's worth discussion; but so condescdingly contrived... 4 stars
4/18/06 Dave A well done movie, but it shouldn't have won Best Picture for 2006 4 stars
4/17/06 Wani awesome. tugs at my heart. i cried. nuff said. 4 stars
4/10/06 richard speer cliche piled on top of cliches 1 stars
4/09/06 Tami Best film I've seen in a while 5 stars
4/06/06 Troy M. Grzych Definitely the pest picture of the year! 5 stars
4/04/06 MMM Popcorn Decent but treats audience like idiots - We get the point . . 4 stars
4/04/06 Josh Standlee It was okay, but I think Sin City should have won best picture! 3 stars
4/02/06 Suzz other than the theme of racism, this film has very little to recommend it 3 stars
4/01/06 Howard emotionally exhausting--intellectually stimulating 5 stars
4/01/06 Carol I don't usually pay attention to awards, but this was great! 5 stars
4/01/06 Michele not as good as everyone said 3 stars
3/29/06 Naka Preachy, overbearing, but intelligent and entertaining. 4 stars
3/29/06 Dave An almost perfect film about racism and stereotypes. 4 stars
3/16/06 Ben Z I've seen worse but I've seen A LOT better, the movie is painfully mediocre. 3 stars
3/13/06 Suzy Q What you get when success goes to the head. Takes self way to serious. 2 stars
3/09/06 dan This movie is filmaking at its finest. Totally deserved picture of the yea. A masterpiece!! 5 stars
3/09/06 PeterV2 Terrible, shallow, dull 1 stars
3/09/06 beth murphy awful 1 stars
3/09/06 Sugarfoot They might as well have given the oscar to Exit Wounds or Showdown In Little Tokyo!. 1 stars
3/08/06 Carolyn Rathburn I can't believe it won movie of the year 3 stars
3/08/06 um yeah I just paid to see a bad 2 hr. episode of NYPD BLUE....wtf!!!! 1 stars
3/08/06 Katie Amazing but desturbing look at the way people treat those of different race or ethnicity. 4 stars
3/07/06 Nora Trite, pretentious, heavyhanded, & UNREALISTIC. People DO NOT talk or act this way! 1 stars
3/07/06 Perry It'll make you uneasy, angry, and moved. Brilliant filmmaking. Deserved Best Pic by far. 5 stars
3/06/06 Mungface Wow, our skin colors are different! WHO KNEW???? 1 stars
2/20/06 Tanya very eye opening to a lot of things 5 stars
2/12/06 Kelvin Si ...... 4 stars
2/10/06 Carolyn Rathburn This movie left me feeling strangely violated, I didn't enjoy it. 3 stars
2/06/06 R.W.Welch Over the top at times, but has some brilliant scenes. Tears and laughs aplenty. 5 stars
2/05/06 KCobain Loved it. Absolutely mesmerizing and as good as movies get. 5 stars
2/04/06 Michele ok 3 stars
2/02/06 LisaK A Must See 5 stars
1/29/06 Laura This really moved me despite me hating the in your face paranoid "everyone is racist" tone. 4 stars
1/25/06 Dick Full of stereotypes and blatant shoes on the other foot scenarios. Trite but interesting. 3 stars
1/24/06 daveyt are you all Yanks or what? Too close to the bone...? 5 stars
1/17/06 cody a wonderful well acted and story told film, with good perfomances by sandra and matt dillon 4 stars
1/10/06 Nate Jen i love you. We should make babies 1 stars
12/30/05 Simon annoyingly patronising and pretentious yes, but it's a movie: thoughtprovoking & entertains 4 stars
12/29/05 Jen Ouch! Stop beating me upside the head with your "message!" 2 stars
12/20/05 Nicole Dialogue a bit overdone at times, but decent movie 4 stars
12/12/05 Tony D The only movie ever i have walked out on. So obvious what it tried to do. i get it already! 1 stars
11/30/05 J.D. Pittman III It's a real eye opener to what is really happening in the world these days. 5 stars
11/24/05 Everyone but me commenting here sucks ass Better than most of the garbage put out recently 4 stars
11/18/05 Indrid Cold Does for racism what Traffic did for drugs. Traffic was classier though. 3 stars
11/18/05 Dave agree Buck, very patronsing you must be pretty stupid if it opened your eyes. oscars? no 1 stars
11/14/05 The Hacker CRASH is TRASH, a complete waste of time 1 stars
11/14/05 Lanie Richardson I did not really like this movie. It was pretty boring... 3 stars
10/31/05 buck nasty This movie was amazing, especially the story with the locksmith 5 stars
10/27/05 Buck MCcoy hated this movie. so so contrived. must be a retard to find it thought provoking 1 stars
10/24/05 Shamus Forced coincidences=Natural Hatred For Film 2 stars
10/17/05 Ko It was very touching, and it probably does happen 5 stars
10/16/05 Betty Fennell I believe that this is one of the best movies I have seen in along time. 5 stars
10/15/05 michaelb14 great movie, thought provoking 5 stars
10/12/05 Vince Good, intelligent flick, but nothing tremendous though 4 stars
10/12/05 John Doe Todd Jaspers doesnt know anything. This movie is great i think everyone should see it. 5 stars
10/09/05 Joe Smaltz Neat movie, good acting a plot that keeps you wondering 5 stars
10/07/05 millersxing A film w/ diversity of every stripe, except of music & message. Bring an iPod & an opinion 4 stars
10/05/05 Jesse Taylor An amazing movie which will be remembered for a long time. 5 stars
9/30/05 Simon See Brian McKay's review. Clearly flawed/pretentious, but it's unsettling/thoughtprovoking. 4 stars
9/25/05 Todd Jaspers I'm a professional screenwrite this script sucks, Paul Haggis should go back to Canada. 1 stars
9/25/05 Kyle White I can't really add anything that hasn't been said. See it. 4 stars
9/22/05 Fritz One of the best so far this year. Haggis is a talent worth watching for. 4 stars
9/15/05 ES It was really good, intense scenes and some great acting 5 stars
9/10/05 Scott Lamont Compeling, revolting, intense and uneasy. Music is A+ 5 stars
9/10/05 malcolm a little too much going on. tate and ludacris almost end up being comic relief. 4 stars
9/07/05 ELI Nathan, ur a dumb fuck (No offence) :). 5 stars
9/03/05 Littlepurch Amazing acting, fantastic interlocking script, incredibly thought provoking and meaningful. 5 stars
8/16/05 Nathan terrible, patronising, and predictable. Well acted, tecnically sound, but laughable script 1 stars
8/01/05 Taylor Fladgate Very powerful....one of this year's best.... 5 stars
7/28/05 Obi Wan WOW...for the DVD collection!! Cheadle does it again! Great cast which comes together!! 5 stars
7/26/05 Patrick S This is an awesome movie & hist home. Why spent time watching Batman? 5 stars
7/15/05 Lisa Marie truly amazing. so much to think about that it takes awhile to fully comprehend 5 stars
6/25/05 Casey Riveting but much too heavy-handed. Leave viewers something to discuss afterwards!! 4 stars
6/24/05 iLittleFoot Raw, Intense (insert buzzwords here). It was amazing. 5 stars
6/22/05 LYNITA This would be a great movie to discuss like book-groups discuss books 5 stars
6/18/05 Brucos I rather enjoyed the movie. It was revealing that many of the stereotypes influence our rea 4 stars
6/09/05 chris kohn The connections were overwhelming. The cop saving the woman he molested. The little girl 5 stars
6/07/05 Alex St. John Great comments on race in society - highly recommended. 5 stars
6/05/05 Patrick Silva Awesome! It moved me. It may have been a bit too coincidental, but point taken. 5 stars
6/05/05 Michele Disjointed, angry, manipulative, against the human race, a total waste of time. 1 stars
6/04/05 ELI BEST FILM NOMINATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
6/02/05 Mike V One of the most intelligent films about racial tensions ever made 5 stars
5/29/05 Danielle Intense and honest; It does justice to the complexity of being human these days 5 stars
5/29/05 Eliza Great Movie 5 stars
5/27/05 Paul I haven't seen any reference to the movie "Higher Learning". Just a thought. 5 stars
5/27/05 Ahnold Excellent commentary on cultural differences 5 stars
5/24/05 jeffee martinez-vargas Haggis is a genius. I was reminded of his wonderful short lived TV show "Easy Streets." 5 stars
5/16/05 stella just great 5 stars
5/15/05 Mark Kaufman Very powerful, very real, an honest American film. Now that is a shock! 5 stars
5/13/05 Adam Holy Magnolia, that was great! This film could change the world, if people open their minds 5 stars
5/13/05 a f 5 stars
5/13/05 Mark Thomas Timely ,agenda pushing and great! 4 stars
5/09/05 Greg Wilson Much Ado About Nothing 2 stars
5/09/05 Nicholas Sheldon Truly moving. The audience I saw it with was taken aback. 5 stars
5/09/05 Sharon Soike Loved this very sad, thoughtful movie 4 stars
5/08/05 John Bale Just brilliant - not since D W Griffith has there been such a film about Intolerence 5 stars
5/07/05 jcjs lovely, sensitive, telling, fine job by all 5 stars
5/07/05 Renee A thought provoking emotional rollercoaster! 5 stars
5/05/05 Brian Carter Best movie I have seen this year! Through provoking, entertaining and ultimately inspiring 5 stars
4/26/05 Russ Ramsden Outstanding film -- no complete heroes or villains 5 stars
4/12/05 domer Pretty much completely fantastic. BETTER than PTA's Magnolia. 5 stars
4/05/05 audrey moving, powerful, strong, interesting 5 stars
4/05/05 tom Too many plot lines. Pretentious. Good Acting. 3 stars
4/04/05 Todahe Apparently LA is full of detestable stereotypes 2 stars
12/11/04 Graeme Amazing film. Bullock and Newton shine 5 stars
10/31/04 Minnie Simply amazing. It has been a long time since a movie such as this has been made. 5 stars
10/14/04 Marco Preza Great movie... Very strong performances 5 stars
9/22/04 Frank Newman Wonderful ensemble piece, Sandra Bullock is excellent in this 5 stars
9/21/04 Margo filled with stereotypes and cliches 1 stars
9/20/04 denny the setup of the film was well done but the conclusion was too contrived 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  06-May-2005 (R)
  DVD: 04-Apr-2006

UK
  N/A

Australia
  28-Apr-2005




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