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Review (8/10)
(By Liam Cullin)

I'm still trying to figure out why the filmmakers chose the title "Crash". Why risk people confusing it with the AWFUL David Cronenberg movie of the same title? Yes, there's a minor car crash at the beginning and a bigger car crash in the middle, and another at the end. And yes, there's Don Cheadle's speech at the beginning of the movie which pretty much explains the title. But, since the movie deals with racial and ethnic struggles in southern California, why not call it "Clash"? I guess what I want to say is that "Crash" is a great movie.

It's difficult to sum up this movie, because it's so many different stories that weave in and out of each other, ala Magnolia. There are cops Graham and Ria (Don Cheadle and Jennifer Esposito). There's the district attorney and his wife (Brendan Fraser and Sandra Bullock). There are criminals (Ludacris and Larenz Tate). There are some more cops (Matt Dillon and Ryan Phillippe). There's a TV director and his wife (Terrence Dashon Howard and Thandie Newton). And there's a locksmith and a shop owner (Michael Pena and Shaun Toub). And they've all got problems...

Don Cheadle is boning his partner, but she gets offended when he calls her Mexican. He's also dealing with his drug-addict mother who favors her gangsta son instead of him. Then there's Fraser and Bullock, who get their car stolen. Subsequently, she wants all the locks on all her doors replaced. But when a Latino man (Pena) shows up, she wants them redone. There's criminals Tate and Ludacris who argue about blacks being stereotyped as criminals, while they are criminals themselves. There's Matt Dillon whose father is ill and when he gets screwed by his HMO (the woman on the phone is black) he takes out his frustration by pulling over a black couple in their SUV (Howard and Newton). He fondles Newton and humiliates Howard, who is dealing with his own racism in the workplace. Later, the locksmith visits an Iranian shop owner (Toub) but can't fix his lock. Later the shop gets broken into, and leads to one of the most powerful things I've seen on film in recent memory. I could go on and on, because there is so much to go on about. I could never do the movie justice. It's something that needs, and deserves to be seen.

A lot of people have been referring to this as the new Sandra Bullock movie. It's not. That would be like calling Magnolia a Tom Cruise movie. Sure, Tom Cruise was in Magnolia, but it wasn't his movie. This one is an ensemble, and each member of the cast is remarkable in carrying their part of the story. Cast highlights include Don Cheadle and Matt Dillon. (Although Dillon's character is a prick, he manages to redeem himself in the end.)

If I had to choose a favorite story line, I'd go with Michael Pena and Shaun Toub. For me, this story arc was particularly powerful. And when it came to a boil, you could hear the collective gasp of the audience and then silence - and it almost brought me to tears.

And the writing. And the directing. I'll give credit to the writers (Paul Haggis and Bobby Moresco) for having the balls to put this script on paper and to director Haggis for actually putting it on film. At times the words aren't pretty and the movie is pretty much laced with every racial stereotype you can think of, from blacks to whites to asians to latinos to middle eastern people. Not pretty - and this movie isn't for the faint-hearted. But the message about racial stereotypes and intolerance is loud and clear. (Although I didn't really understand the point of the asian people. It seemed their role was supposed to be more but ended up cut - and not very well.)

If I had one problem, it would be that while the movie did a great job of delivering its message, it didn't really bring us to any conclusions. It merely showcases the problem, and leaves it up to us do the math. But I guess this is just part of the storytelling. It's just one day in the life of all these people. What happened before and what happens next, we're not really meant to know.

If this movie accomplishes anything, it gives us a great glimpse into the complicated lives of average, everyday people. It doesn't solve our problems, and it doesn't preach to us about the injustices in the world. It just makes us think and gives us something to talk about, and that's enough.

Keyword : Eli, Tom Cruise, Hop, Sandra Bullock, Jennifer Esposito, Thandie Newton, Brendan Fraser, You, David, Ant, Matt , Ate, Black, Bobby, Clash, Crash, Criminal, Deal, Ex, Heart, Here, Memory, newt, Next, Out, Partner, Paul, Red, Rent, Rick, Risk, RV, Take, Tears, Up, W., War, YES, FILM, Bi, Now, M., Cas, Ron, Eren, Rani, Tere, Rust

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