Monday, May 23, 2005

Crash

I saw this movie over the weekend. It is a pretty remarkable little film - people should go and see it. Very intense, it is a drama of concentrated vingettes that are ultimately all tied together. The unifying theme to all the stories is racism and prejudice, and while the examples presented in the film are extreme, in-your-face, instances the movie actually avoids being judgmental - the perpetrators of the prejudice are both loathesome and sympathetic at the same time. The viewer is allowed to hate the actions and sentiments presented while at the same time understanding them and the motivations behind them. We witness a woman treating her hispanic housekeeper like garbage in one scene and then later hugging her and calling her, her best friend. And the viewer can appreciate that both scenes are authentic. A cop is shown in one scene humiliating and sexually harrassing a black woman, and in another scene risks his own life to save a black woman. And again, the viewer can understand how both scenes can be authentic - that both sides of human nature can exist in the same person. Even the most despicable characters in the movie have moments of redemption, and the most likable characters demonstrate weakness of character. It's real.

The movie raises complex questions, and in what I think is one of the bravest moves I've seen in a long time in a film, doesn't attempt to answer any of them. There are no pat endings here, no simple, "happy ending" resolutions. The clear message is, there aren't easy answers. And that, quite simply, is the truth. Now how often does Hollywood send such a stark, clear message? Go see Crash. It's well worth the time and money.

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