Culture Crash

4 07 2008

“Crash” 2004

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon, Jennifer Esposito

Is our goodness defined by the worst things we are capable of doing, feeling, and acting upon or is the opposite true? Do our good deeds redeem us to the point that we can be forgiven for our faults and flaws?

“Crash” is a spectacularly moving film that addresses our racially prejudiced culture, and how each of us deals with both overt prejudices and those that simmer just beneath the surface. But the theme of racism is just on the surface of this film. It is more about people who are human, who internalize feelings of hatred or superiority through years of living in a society that has programmed them to do so. It is about how these people behave in both routine and highly unusual situations based on their prejudices. No one is innocent, because we are all a product of culture that is collectively guilty, in one way or another.

I am writing this review several years after my second and final viewing of “Crash.” It is a film that I would like to revisit because it made such an enormous impression on me all those years ago. I have two songs from the “Crash” soundtrack programmed into my iPod, and each time I allow myself to listen to them, I am instantly reminded of the magnitude of the film’s themes.

No good can come of trying to summarize the many intersecting plotlines involved in “Crash.” These stories are so brilliantly developed that it would be unfair to reveal any small part of them in order to produce a review. But it is important to note that this film places a great deal more weight on the motivations behind a person’s actions than on the actions themselves. Paul Haggis, author of the screenplay and director of the film, does not endorse or even attempt to justify the actions of the characters, but to shed light onto the truth of them, which is more horrifying, more powerful, tragically discouraging and simultaneously hopeful. We all like to think of ourselves as being one way or another, entirely good or inherently bad, but there is ambiguity in each and every one of us. I submit that it is impossible for anyone to encompass goodness or evil completely and still remain human.

And so we travel for a period of two hours with characters who feel hate, love, and indifference, and come out still looking a great deal like ourselves, or our neighbors, or our friends.





One response

22 08 2011
Roofing Liverpool

cool! I have seen this movie too! and it moves me to tears. it has a lot of lessons and everything.

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