Wednesday, June 1, 2011
The idea behind this movie is fascinating. It shows racism from multiple perspectives without condemning any particular person or group of people; everyone is equally to blame. This idea transfers to film quite well; it's easy to switch back and forth between people facing very different, yet ultimately quite similar, situations. As a whole, it's a really depressing movie, as the implication is that we'll never be able to work out our differences and overcome the terrible problems that are caused by blind hatred and prejudice. But this film does a really good job of showing that all people are more complex than they seem, even if they appear to be just fulfilling stereotypes. So maybe films like this one will eventually motivate people to change things. I don't know, but I hope so.
The thing that I like the most about Crash is that all the characters are very realistic. They all have multiple layers, and each is unique. Some learn more from their experiences than others. By the end of the film, some of their problems are resolved, but not all of them. These characters have their own complete lives; audiences get the feeling that they're only seeing brief snapshots. So often, movie characters' lives seem to begin and end with what we see on screen, but that's definitely not the case here. It's also interesting how most of the characters aren't particularly likeable, but one can't help sympathizing with them all because their flaws are what make them seem so human.
There were other aspects of this movie that I didn't like as well. There's way too much profanity for my taste (although I guess that, too, contributes to the sense of reality). And as necessary as it is to discuss racism's continued presence in our society, this gets a little old after a while. It's as if the filmmakers are trying to say "Racism is bad and it's still around" in as many different ways as possible in two hours. The whole thing is just a little too preachy. It's not very hopeful, either, because it presents racism as a problem that has no solution. Overall, I think it's a well-made film with good character development and an important message, but, like Million Dollar Baby, it's not a movie that I want to watch over and over again.
Next up: The Departed