Thursday, May 5, 2005

I saw an advanced screening of Crash on Tuesday. Despite the title and poster, it is not a horror movie, but a powerful and intense social drama with a great ensemble (Don Cheadle, Ryan Phillippe, Sandra Bullock, Thandie Newton, Matt Dillon, Ludacris and Brandon Fraser).

It takes place in LA and shows the lives of many separate people of different wealth, occupation and race and how at some point they "crash" into one another during a period of 36 hours. I personally enjoy movies where seemingly unrelated people are later weaved together.

Crash unflinchingly deals with racial tolerance in contemporary America and the different stereotypes and fears people have, even towards their own cultures. At times these fears and prejudices are handled with humor and shock. It was weird being at a theater and hearing other audience members laugh at racial and ethnic slurs, but then I realized most of it was awkward laughter and other times the script actually is able to poke fun really skillfully to reveal tensions.

The film was written and directed by Paul Haggis, who wrote the Best Picture Million Dollar Baby. His new film effort is incredibly well-acted, especially by Don Cheadle, which comes as no surprise. It was also interesting seeing actors and actresses like Sandra Bullock, Matt Dillon in unfamiliar roles and playing a bitch and racist. Tony Danza actually has a brief cameo, playing an actor who wants a black co star to act in a scene like he was more "black."

Overall, this was a powerful film and shows that there is no black or white but a lot of gray are in between. Crash opens this Friday, May 6.

Review: Accidents Will Happen, Paul Haggis's thrilling, provocative Crash spins a great cast into moral collisions. New York Magazine

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