Paul Haggis‘ “Crash” had caused controversy. People considered not good enough as Best Motion Picture at the 78th Academy Awards, 2006. The movie won a lot of contention along with Ang Lee’s “Brokeback Mountain“. However, they think the Ang Lee movie was more feasible as the winner. Behind all the scene, Paul Haggis raised the theme of the racism issue which not something new. Yet, this was a unique film to each other.
“Crash”, precisely, takes a strong stereotypical we always know but we are wrong in judging it. Set in America with a variety of races inside such as whites, blacks, Latinos, Koreans, Asians, Iranians, cops, criminals, and others. They all have nothing wrong but actually, are worthy of blame. So, the characters here are correct but also not true. They have a simple yet complex life. Complexity is what drives them why they always have negative impulsivity between tribes and races. But, this is what makes them dangerous because what we are fighting here is actually ourselves.
The movie focuses on an accident when Jennifer Esposito as Ria and Don Cheadle as Graham were suddenly stopped due to long queues. As a result, they were scolded by a Chinese woman (Alexis Rhee). There was a small debate between both sides. On the other hand, the queue was caused by the discovery of the dead young man. Graham, who is a detective, intervened to check it out. The plot began to move backward when a Persian man (Shaun Toub) and his daughter (Bahar Soomekh) argued with a dealer of firearms. In the debate, the Persian was angry when the dealer insulted him in a racist tone.
In another place, move backward again, two black youths came out of the cafe. Ludacris as Anthony and Larenz Tate as Peter always thought cynically about white people treating indirectly black people. They always assume that Los Angeles has always discriminated against blacks. In front of the two of them, through a prosecutor, Brendan Fraser as Rick, with his wife, Sandra Bullock as Jean. Their views, especially Jean, suddenly became cynical and afraid of the presence of Anthony and Peter. They are offended and finally start stealing their car.
“Crash” has a complex matter both in terms of character and story. Setting in the city of Los Angeles is full of various races. In fact, events like this are very vulnerable; cause friction with each other in between. The stereotypes of various races trigger various kinds of negative views from other parties, depending on how a country’s background or history. Like for example blacks as a gangster, Hispanic as a mafia and druglord, middle east as terrorism, the police as the main enemy of the black race, and others. The similarity of a race is also often equated as a Persian equal Arabic or a Korean equal Chinese.
Haggis conveyed this film in a simple way but with clear messages. They were not as complex as this film. Judging badly from other people from their race is not a good action. Indirectly, we have unconsciously generalized a group. The truth is, of course, there are still many good people in each race without the need to generalize it just because of the basic stereotypical views. However, the characters in this film are actually kind when you know them more closely. There is a background why Officer Ryan (Matt Dillon) always oppresses black people. On the other hand, he was just a good person who did his job and cared for his sick father.
“Crash” describes minorities as the formation of negative imagery; represent their own groups insecurely. The act of discrimination based on race is not something new, especially in America. America is a country of dreams and freedom where you can be anything there. Therefore, minorities travel a lot from their hometowns and went to America. Americans, in fact, are just so kindness, in the outer sense, they look bad if you don’t know them one by one. In some scenes too, in fact, minorities, especially blacks, are not entirely bad. There are only those who encourage them why we always judge what we always saw. America, according to Paul Haggis, could actually portray itself as a social and cultural diversity country.
One thing that, as well as the opinions of people, makes this film matter such as the script and the character. All of the characters spoke in their own language and manner because we knew they were all racists from the outside but not from within. Yes, I know, this is a movie about stereotypical. However, the dialogue always focuses on the cliches even I’m not sure whether this is also applied in our reality. The characters, besides having many interconnected plots, are not too related to each other; in a full context. Every character got what they get whether they succeed in understanding what makes them like such but others don’t. There is a happy ending for each character and a bad ending. Almost all of these characters fill stories from just one dimension, not as a whole.
“Crash” uses multiple plots with stereotypical themes but, clinchingly, characters only fulfill their stereotypical. Yet, the movie is for some people who also have the same experience in this film. All of these people aren’t bad people but they only need a process of understanding themselves. They share a variety of fears, hopes, and happiness because they still have people who still understand themselves.
2.5 out of 5 stars.