Crash, Paul Haggis (2004)

Turns out everyone in Los Angeles, with the single exception of a gentle Latino locksmith, is corrupt, racist, misogynist, desperate, enraged, terrified, and/or armed. And can’t drive for shit. Doesn’t this seem slightly overstated? Haggis doesn’t raise issues, he inflates and exploits them. As Wendy points out, it’s impossible to sympathize with anyone here, because everyone is introduced in extremis, so there’s no way of knowing who they actually are in normal life, and so there’s no way of knowing what they’ve lost. No one falls from grace, health, prosperity, or virtue here; everyone arrives on screen pre-fallen. This is how a movie so packed with moments of crisis (five minutes can’t go by without someone screaming at, running over, shooting or threatening to shoot someone else) manages to be boring.

As an aside, I think it would be a great idea if every Hollywood director, actor, writer, crew member, producer, etc. who wanted to work on a film where a character gets shot would first be required to him/herself get shot. Just once, in the leg or the arm or something, nothing life-threatening. Just so that forever after, when they work on a scene where a character gets shot, they can have that sense memory of what it actually feels like.

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