Friday, January 18, 2008

Crash (2004)

I know its as though I'm jumping all over the place with reviews, but I'm trying to get inspired. I am a bit inspired, but sometimes it feels as though everything worth saying has been said, and still no one listens. Take the film "Crash" directed & written by Paul Haggis. Haggis is most known for his TV work on such shows as "thirtysomthing" "The facts of life", and "Due South", so the man knows how to write dialogue. I enjoyed the theme of the film "Crash", but what made it ring out as false was some of its dialogue. People in real life don't talk in monologues. We conspire and hide our true selves usually from the world. It's probably a defense mechanism of sorts because when we encounter other people we don't know if their friend or foe. So we don't give people a clue to how we feel, or who we are at first.

I understand the scenarios that "Crash" presents to us, but we are looking at a drama, and by its own definition we need to present conflict quickly into the plot otherwise there is no drama. "Crash" feels a bit forced. Take the scene where Matt Dillion's character goes down to the health insurance office to beg for his father's care. Dillion goes off on a tangent and mentions to the insurance agent a black women played brilliantly by Loretta Devine that his father is a victim of affirmative action. Now I understand his case, and the story that Dillion tells is interesting, heartbreaking, and filled with irony, but please real people don't talk that way. When I hear that I hear the screenwriter talking, and that takes me out of the picture, and makes me realize that this is fiction. Once that happens you've lost your audience, and that's something you don't want to do in a film.

I much preferred how they handled revealing Don Cheadle's characters mom. Through slow revelation we find out that she is a drug addict, and that actually Cheadle's mom loves her other son more then him. What Don Cheadle does with his expression as he learns that it is his brother that has been killed speaks more volumes then any dialogue any screenwriter can conjure up. That is the power of cinema. The image, and Haggis doesn't do that enough in this film.

I still think "Crash" is worth seeing. The cinematography is good, and the production values are all up there on the screen. There are performances in the film that are really good, and should be seen. The message of the film also resonates with me as I hope it resonate with others. That message is that we all have our problems in life, but together we make up a unique spices called the human race. A film like this should be viewed by as many people as possible. Especially in a time where people find themselves more and more alienated with each other. Is "Crash" a perfect film no, but it's worth seeing if only for the performances by this ensemble cast.

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