Before viewing the movie “Crash”, I knew very
little about it, yet had read decent reviews, and went
into it with a positive outlook. I was aware that it was
a film that dealt with the severe racial issues effecting
today’s society, but nothing prepared me for the
overwhelming stereotypes that had been clustered together
in a rather amateur, unorganized fashion.
Paul Haggis wrote and directed “Crash”, and
has apparently grown into quite a bitter man, since his
days of writing for “Love Boat”, “The
Facts of Life”, and, yes, even “Different
Strokes”. I am not one to downplay somebody’s
writing ability, so I will also mention that he created
the screenplay for “Million Dollar Baby”,
which was, of course, a hit. However, one hit movie does
not automatically make for a talented screenwriter.
am aware that racism exists in today’s society,
and am fairly sure that the rest of the country can recognize
this fact, as well. Apparently, Haggis is unaware that
anyone has noticed that racial stereotypes are not a thing
of the past, and felt the need to make it known…in
a cliché, overly dramatic, much exaggerated fashion.
His message is overwhelmingly, painfully obvious…”don’t
judge a book by its cover” and “we are all
equal”, but the movie is so poorly scripted and
predictable, it’s hard to even see who is right
The premise for this film is a promising one, but does
not come remotely close to what, I believe, the writer
wanted to accomplish. Haggis portrays African Americans
as misunderstood minorities, and while that may be true,
he was also sure to script the two main black men as gun-toting
car jackers, oppressed by white America, and seemingly
forced into a life of crime. “Ludicrous” was
well cast in the role of one of these aforementioned men,
but is it really anything different than the issues he
Dillon plays an absurdly racist Police Officer, offended
by everything from black receptionists, to interracial
marriage. Although I can admit that there are, indeed,
people in society who think within this mind frame; it
seemed somewhat ridiculous that his character would call
a doctor’s office, seeking help for his ill father,
and be offended by the mere mention of the social worker’s
name: Laquisha. This is the mere beginning of his hatred
towards other races, and although Dillon’s acting
is believable…the poorly scripted dialogue is not.
Several different families, of all ethnicities, were captured
in this film, but the writer’s over-the-top, ignorant
view of discrimination numbed the audience of having a
clear perception of whom, if anyone, we should be rooting
for. If equality is the overall goal, why then did Haggis
choose to script Asians as rude, overbearing foreigners?
Why did the Persian father in this film come across as
an insane, ignorant madman, willing to kill others based
on the fact he was unwilling to learn the English language?
The plots, if one is able to view them as such, were hardly
thought out, and these characters seemed to only exist
in order to elevate the audiences’ hatred towards
a clearly racist America. Unfortunately, the writer’s
blatantly biased opinion on the country’s beliefs
proved ineffective, due to the implausible nature of each
and every event that unfolded. The underlying theme seemed
to whisper, “there is racism in us all” when
a young, naïve cop (Ryan Phillipe) accidentally shoots
a black man out of, what could be considered, self-defense.
this is not a brave, nor daring movie, due to the fact
that there is absolutely no character development whatsoever.
Haggis is so desperate to get his point across; he fails
to create any depth within the people involved. The brash
manner in which the characters are introduced to us is
so emotionless, that one is unable to focus on anything
but the “public service announcement” of “Racism=Hate”.
Had the writer been able to delve even slightly into any
of the characters, perhaps the audience would feel sympathetic
towards them, rather than wondering why everyone in this
movie is a selfish, ignorant bigot.
Basically, what I learned from “Crash” is
that prejudice leads to hate, breaking the law, slavery,
and murder. Nothing can ever be resolved, human beings
are unable to perceive common decency, and there is no
hope for the world, as we know it.
C’mon, didn’t we all know that, anyway?
June 23rd, 2005