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Overall Rating
3.52

Awesome36.8%
Worth A Look: 25.28%
Average: 8.18%
Pretty Bad: 13.01%
Total Crap: 16.73%

13 reviews, 191 user ratings


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Crash (2005)
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Tries hard to be major; good performances all around."
4 stars

In Los Angeles as seen in movies -- well, the serious ones, anyway -- everything seems to be about disconnection. It's as if the writers and directors who live there want to impress the rest of the world with the dark side of such a legendarily lightheaded city.

The latest multicharacter drama to pump up the tensions between the aristocracy and the groundlings (each represented by a variety of races), Paul Haggis' Crash enters theaters with an unusually high level of candid rhetoric and an equal level of do-gooder impulse. The movie (not to be confused with David Cronenberg's 1996 oddity) is often very fine, and a somber yet supple film like this, coming as it does near the beginning of Stupidity Season at the movies, may strike many critics as a revelation. But don't let yourself get carried away by the raves: Crash is solid but no masterpiece.

There are rich white people (Brendan Fraser as a district attorney, Sandra Bullock as his perpetually angry wife) and rich black people (Terrence Howard as a director, Thandie Newton as his mercurial wife). There are white cops (racist Matt Dillon, good-hearted Ryan Phillippe) and black cops (troubled detective Don Cheadle, cheerfully cynical lieutenant Keith David). There are Latinos who look like trouble but aren't (locksmith Michael Pena, festooned with scary tattoos but actually a devoted husband and dad) and blacks who don't look like trouble but are (Larenz Tate and Chris "Ludacris" Bridges as two carjackers). There is a hot-headed Iranian store owner (Shaun Toub) and his level-headed daughter (Bahar Soomekh). Crash sets all these people bouncing off each other during the course of one unusally cold Los Angeles day and watches the racial sparks fly, just as Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing did on a sidewalk-melting day in New York.

The difference between Crash and other depressed L.A. films (Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia, Robert Altman's Short Cuts, Lawrence Kasdan's Grand Canyon) is that it focuses entirely on race -- its tensions, its stereotypes, its misunderstandings. Crash is a tighter film than any of those. Writer/director Haggis, who also wrote Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby, somehow manages to get his characters doing and saying unconscionable things while still keeping us involved in their fates. Matt Dillon's cop, who seems at first glance a racist pig, develops shadings that help us understand him, if not excuse him. Likewise, we understand why Terrence Howard's bourgeois director, egged on by his wife's withering disdain of his manhood, comes close to throwing everything away when his path crosses with two of the other characters, who don't know or care that he had a traumatic run-in with Dillon the night before.

Crash relies a little too much on coincidence for my taste. It's as if Haggis, seeing how disconnected the characters are, set out to connect them by force, and sometimes the people seem like pawns, or placards making instructive points (see, not all Iranians are bad-tempered; not all Latinos are hoodlums). Don Cheadle has the movie's most complexly drawn role, a worn-down detective who can't believe his ears when a white cop (William Fichtner) wants to cover up the fact that three black cops recently shot dead by a white cop may have been corrupt. In a similar plot thread, Ryan Phillippe's young, idealistic cop wants to report Dillon's racist behavior and is told by his black supervisor (Keith David) to shut up about it. The interesting stuff in Crash takes place between cops of various races and backgrounds (including Cheadle's girlfriend Jennifer Esposito, a cop of mixed Latin heritage).

The rest of the movie sometimes works, sometimes doesn't. It may be bracing to hear Miss Congeniality snarl and drop an F-bomb, but Sandra Bullock's character feels unresolved, as does Thandie Newton's brittle victim of Dillon's racism. (The women in the movie get short shrift; Crash concerns itself chiefly with male torments and dilemmas. The Iranian's wife, for instance, is played by Star Trek: The Next Generation's Marina Sirtis, though you'd never know it, since she's cloaked in traditional head garb and has almost no lines.) The outcome of the conflict between the Iranian store-owner and the Latino locksmith feels awfully forced, and does nothing, by the way, to dispel the stereotype of Middle Eastern men as violently uncomprehending ranters. (It also begs the question of why his daughter was worried about whether his gun had been stolen if she herself selected the bullets in it. That'll make more sense if you see the film.)

'Crash' has just enough powerful and delicate moments to rank it among the best of the season, but consider its competition.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=10448&reviewer=416
originally posted: 01/26/07 16:01:03
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Toronto Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Toronto Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

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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