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 Crash


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This is a first - a guest movie review!  If you'd like to offer up your thoughts on the latest film, just drop me a line!  Now, Phil Foster checks in with his review of Crash...

The plot in a nutshell
Crash deals with racial tensions and prejudiced attitudes in LA. While Iím not American I can understand where the film stands as the UK is also a multi-national country that suffers from racism. While controversial in subject matter Crash successfully selects a group of 12 people whoís lives are twisted together in a period of a couple of days. The point it tries to prove are actually quite truthful and seems to suggest that there is no escaping the fact that some people are walking stereotypes. For example the black man, who complains that white people are afraid of him, then proceeds to carjack a white couple, or the white woman who thinks the Hispanic locksmith will sell the new keys to his gang members and rob them while they sleep. However these are not presented in a opinionated way, as hard as that sounds to believe, it is left up to the viewer to assess how we feel about the people involved.

Relatively Spoiler Free Thoughts
Directed by Paul Haggis and boasting a plethora of Hollywood stars this film looks interesting right from the start. The one thing Iíd say I dislike before I even saw the movie was the fact I didnít really know what was happening. All I saw from posters was Matt Dillon holding someone and looking up to the sky with some form of anguish etched on his face (picture at bottom of the page), not exactly the best image to promote a film. Having said that all you have to do is a search on the Internet and it all becomes clear

While the cast all give fantastic performances special mention must go to Michael Pena. Iíd never heard of him before this film but he gives, in my opinion, the best performance. He plays a Mexican American who is accused by Jean (Sandra Bullock) of being a typical gang member, with tattoos and a shaved head. Turns out heís actually a loving family man, who moved away from his bad neighborhood to protect his daughter. These scenes in particular are very well played, which makes the climax to his story even more moving, and my particular favourite.

As said before this film was always going to attract controversy, and while the situations are not always 100% realistic it is not like that matters. The fact is that it is trying to portray a message through 12 people in a city with a population of over 3 million, which means that it has to use some stretching of the imagination to make all these people ďcrash,Ē something which I find to be ultimately successful. It would have been all too easy for this film to focus on one aspect of racial discrimination, for example the black side, or the Hispanic side, but by incorporating all these different cultures in one space, and even pitting the minorities against each other (example: the scene between Farhad the Persian and Daniel the Mexican) it makes for a much more realistic look on life.

The outcomes of some events may be a little contrived and 1 dimensional, but often that can be overlooked to see the bigger picture, how stereotypes not only determine out initial thoughts about people but ultimately the way in which we treat them in certain situations, but more on that in the spoiler section.

Rating - Buy It.
Seen as it ain't at the theatres anymore youíd either have to rent it or buy it, or catch it on Sky Box Office. Thatís what I did and Iíll be buying it the next time Iím in town!

Spoiler Laden Thoughts
You've been warned...
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Funnily enough the best scenes in this film are the climaxes of a racially motivated scene. My favourite scene is where Farhad goes after Daniel, thinking he is responsible for his shop getting trashed. Itís understandable as he has been targeted many times before because people mistakenly think heís an Arab, his wife even comments at one point ďwhen did Persian become Arab?Ē just showing the stupidity of some thugs. It is Danielís reaction that steals the scene. Previously he had given his daughter his invisibility cloak to protect her, and now staring down the barrel of a gun she rushes outside to protect him, only to jump in front of a bullet. The silent scream on Danielís face is absolutely beautiful (as weird as that sounds) and I dare even the hardest of people not to cry at it. I often think an actorís skill can be defined when they have to show extreme emotion, be it anger or sorrow, and Michael Pena is absolutely perfect here, making it seem as if it is his real daughter that has just been shot.

Emotional scenes are what drives this film, and they are done very well, from the racist cop whoís life is turned upside down when he saves a black women he had previously molested during a routine traffic stop, to the white rookie cop who shoots the black man he thinks is reaching for a gun, only to find out itís a statue of St Christopher. Itís these scenes that just re-enforce how much of a role stereotypes play in our lives, regardless of how much we personally think they donít, and that is, for me anyway, the major factor that makes this film truly unmissable.

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