Thursday, March 24, 2011

Don't talk to me unless you speak American!

No 460 - Crash
Director - Paul Haggis

I think this film is trying to tell us something.... however, it was so subtle I couldn't figure it out!


I made a joke.....

So.... Paul Haggis has toyed with the concepts of moving to America before, and whilst he might not have gone in as much detail in the past. He was certainly more subtle and more enjoyable.

Now... don't get me wrong, I don't necessarily think Crash is a bad film. Neither do I want to belittle its message - the inherent racism in people is an important topic to tackle... Just that it is far too po faced and heavy handed.

It meant that some of the messages got lost. One of the main victims of this was Anthony, played by Ludacris. His tirades about racism were SO serious that it felt farcical.

It meant that although I was hearing this:

Look around! You couldn't find a whiter, safer or better lit part of this city. But this white woman sees two black guys, who look like UCLA students, strolling down the sidewalk and her reaction is blind fear. I mean, look at us! Are we dressed like gang-bangers? Huh? No. Do we look threatening? No. Fact, if anybody should be scared around here, it's us: We're the only two black faces surrounded by a sea of over-caffeinated white people, patrolled by the triggerhappy LAPD. So you tell me, why aren't we scared?

All I could really see was this:

Which I doubt is what Paul Haggis had in mind.

It is also a shame that so many of the characters seem quite one dimensional. Its a double shame because the film has such an immense cast who are essentially squandered on very slight characters handling weighty themes.
The issue is compounded when Haggis uses such immense Deus Ex Machina to try and resolve these issues or show redemption for the characters.

Some work.... Sandra Bullock's slow realisation of herself is well played and quite moving. Whilst some, like Matt Dillon's redemption, smack of a script leaning too much on coincidence.

And I love Michael Peña's story line, but most because it panders to the sickeningly saccharine romantic hiding underneath my bitter exterior. My only issue is that his strand directly involves Shaun Toub's shop keeper, a man who I found infuriating throughout (I suppose that was the point).

There are just too many stories and they don't slot together with the neatness of... say... Magnolia.

I feel bad criticising the film, because I do think that what it is saying is true. That deep down we are all a bit mistrusting of people different to ourselves, no matter how much we know it is wrong or unjustified.
However, watching this film feels a bit like you have been repeatedly hit round the head with a placard stating that fact.

When you could just listen to this.....

It does the same, and it's funnier.