Analog Thoughts on a Digital Age

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Movie Review: "Crash" (2005)

This scene almost made me cry like a girlymanI was planning on watching Crash last week when it first opened here in Manila. The pirated DVD was in bangketas everywhere weeks before, but I opted to wait to see it in full cinema vision and sound. When I did get to finally see it last night I had just barely gotten well from a fever and the theater's aircon didn't help make me feel better. I had a splitting headache and, at one point was feeling so nauseous I thought I was gonna puke right on the theater seat. I was in no condition to be watching a movie and wouldnt be able to enjoy anything that I would be seeing.
The story of Crash revolves around the lives of different people of different social classes living in the Los Angeles area From the LA District Attorney's(Brendan Frasier) mansion in the Valley to the locksmith's duplex in the ghetto. They all live in this cramped city that they end up passing, bumping and at most times, running into each other (literally). Their lives are intertwined by a series of situations that lead them to make decisions that are either good or bad for the people around them. At times the consequences are devastating, but sometimes cause redemption. No character is completely bad and no character is completely good.

So what did I think of the movie?

Crash works a lot like Steven Soderbergh's Traffic. Only It's more closely knit.
Paul Haggis is an excellent storyteller. His technical and artistic skill in the craft of screenwriting is amazing nad thoroughly evident in this movie. The intertwining of the characters' stories must have taken him months and months to develop and rewrite, and I respect that. he pulls it off whith great skill and precision. There are barely, if any, loopholes in the plot and you'll see what I mean when you see it.

I'll have a double cheeseburger with extra pickles, extra large fries...

The performances are to be given proper credit as well. Don Cheadle, despite the distributed focus on the different characters in the movie, remains the obvious lead character and as always shines with his terrific performance as the good cop. Terrence Dashon Howard of the upcoming Hustle and Flow also shows some acting magic with his outstanding charisma and is being posed to be the next big African American movie star. Chris "Ludacris" Bridges gives a surprisingly fresh offbeat conflicted character as the black kid with white issues. He definitely stepped up a notch in my book after seeing him rationalize why buses have such big windows. Ryan Philippe surprised me as well with a downbeat but noteworthy performance. The most significant performance is in my book, by Matt Dillon as the racist police officer Sgt. Ryan. His character was central to the message the movie tries to convey about the necessity of taking a second look at people before passing judgement on them. You hate Dillon during some parts of the movie and love him on others. Truly a rare, difficult character perfectly cast and portrayed.

Some of the most significant parts of the movie that appealed to me were the use of analogies and parabolic symbolism. Lite the question the Daniel(Michael Pena), the locksmith's, daughter asked him about "how far bullets can go", in reference to their recent move from a dangerous gangbanger neighborhood to a 'safer' ghetto. Daniel replies "...not very far". It stops when it hits something." Another would be the the situation of the short-sighted Iranian storekeeper Farhad (Shaun Toub)who insists that his locks need to be changed. Daniel who is on call, changes the lock but doesn't help because the storekeeper needs a new door. Farhad argues that the lock is all that needs to be changed. Daniel ends up not charging him for the lock and walks away. This represents the lack of focus on the solutions for a problem. Sometimes we dont see the bigger picture and insist on quick fixes rather than permanent solutions.

An especially poignant scene in the middle end of the movie could have made it on My Favorite Tearjerking Scenes if I would have seen it earlier. I won't spoil it for you, but you'll know it when you see it.

Other reviews express how this movie sticks to you long after you leave the theaters. And it's true. The views on racism and bigotry are very well explored on both ends and are very well played out in the situations the characters get themselves in. It is also very well expressed that the only solution to the social problems borne of such diversity is acceptance and love.

Do yourself a favor. Watch Crash, and be nice to the bus conductor on the way home.

That looks like my car...

Rocketboy's Rating: ****(4 out of 5)


Anonymous atoy said...

About Metropolis:
you know what bro, I haven't seen the film because I had a schedule that day, but I am hearing a lot of good reviews about the film and I believe it was one of the very few examples of German Expressionism. Of course it was directed by Fritz Lang. :-)

3:34 PM

Blogger Radioactive Adobo said...

Hey, I hope you get better soon! Cheers!

2:12 AM

Anonymous adobo31 said...

Hey, I hope you get better soon! Cheers! (Part 2)

2:13 AM

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2:21 AM

Blogger the rocketboy said...

art: Lemme know if u get the definite skeds for Cinemanila, ok?

radioactive adobo: Thanks. I'm better now.

anonymous: I am lonely. Can you hook me up for only .99 centavos (Philippine money)? Preferrably some japanese chick. Heheheh. I kid.

6:03 AM

Blogger jowch said...

hehehe, anonymous, pati blogs talaga walang takas sa spam.

6:46 AM

Blogger drei said...

i should watch this soon. steven (as you have compared) i think makes boring but really good films. (minus ocean's of course).

crash has just been included sa imdb top films of all time. :)

9:16 PM

Blogger the rocketboy said...

jowch: oo, na eh. pati ba naman dito...

drei: You know, you should. Its a great narrative of post 9/11 america and it's views on racism. Its definitely gonna make my top 10 of the year...

5:38 AM

Anonymous ann said...

An eye-opener for those who refuse to stay blind.

3:50 PM

Blogger the rocketboy said...

ann: Exactly.

5:41 AM

Blogger Andrea said...

Breathtaking ! Its a very solid movie with excellent cinematography that will please everyone for sure. There are few movies of this kind that leave the audience speechless. Everything is superb in this movie. Go and see this movie.
Crash Online

6:49 PM


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