Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Crash review

Despite the mixed reviews Crash has received, I feel that there is no denying that Crash is a film that is both relevant and thought provoking. It presents many different races and cultures within America and how they are perceived and discriminated against. However, it makes a point that everyone has prejudices while also being discriminated against at the same time; it is through this that all the characters crash into each other. As Ebert says, ‘it tells interlocking stories of whites, blacks, Latinos, Koreans, Iranians, cops and criminals, the rich and the poor, the powerful and powerless, all defined in one way or another by racism. All are victims of it, and all are guilty of it. Sometimes, yes, they rise above it, although it is never that simple’(

However, some critics say that it’s because of these characters being defined by racism that the film doesn’t work. For example, Foundas says, ‘doesn’t accurately reflect the city of Los Angeles as I’ve come to know it after more than a decade of living here...The characters in Crash don’t feel like three-dimensional, flesh-and-blood human beings so much as calculated “types” plugged by Haggis into a schematic thesis about how we are all, in the course of any given day, the perpetrators and the victims of some racial prejudice. (Nobody in Haggis’ universe is allowed to be merely one or the other.) They have no inner lives. They fail to exist independently of whatever stereotype’( I have to agree with Foundas because the only times we saw the characters were while they were discriminating or being discriminated against but while watching the film I still sympathised or empathised with the characters. Also, while Foundas feels that this made the theme of racism feel overdone I think that it helped emphasise the whole concept of the film and gave it more impact and intensity; therefore although it may make the film less ‘enjoyable’ or ‘entertaining’, it makes it more like a parable and the audience leave it thinking about what they’ve seen.

Overall I think that Crash does a good job of illustrating miscommunications between races and ethnicities and how many individuals get their identities mistaken. The Persians who are mistaken for Arabs; the black cop who thinks his Latina girlfriend is Mexican; the black director is told to make the character sound more black; the Mexican-American locksmith who is thought to be a gang member by the white wife of the district attorney even though he is a family man. However, this isn’t always the case: just after we see a black robber object to how white people stereotype him as being dangerous he hijacks a car. As well as this it shows how racism can be used in positions of power. For example, the district attorney adjusts a murder case to make the white cop look bad so as not to lose the black vote. Through all of this, it certainly makes the audience think about the way they act and the possible consequences of these actions.

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