Sunday, June 25, 2006

A 2-minute review of Crash

So, after 6 months of delaying it, I finally saw Crash (by Paul Haggis). I already wrote about why it got best picture (in a few words, it takes place in LA), now I know it didn't deserve it.

This is the perfect example of a mediocre movie, of a wasted good idea. It should be shown to movie students, to illustrate how you can use lots of good actors, writing, not to mention money, to go absolutely nowhere, and create a movie that doesn't advance anything. Not ideas, not art, and certainly not the state of racism in LA.

Cause as you might now, that's what Crash is about: racism in LA. Oh sure, you see plenty of it. Anti-black cops, anti-white black men, anti-latino Persian shop-owners, anything you want: it's here.
During the course of the movie, most characters change, whether they go from racist to tolerant, or from tolerant to racist. And you see lots of reasons. Some of them obviously stupid (because a latino has a tattoo, he's a gang-member), some of them that make you think twice about it (a white men employing 20 black employees loses his company because of some affirmative action law).
But it never tells you who's right and who's not. The characters never speak about their racism, never apologize or even defend their ideas. The movie doesn't judge them: it is no more than a reality-check.

I don't like reality checks, not in American cinema. Give me the state of poverty or AIDS in Africa, show me minors working in mines in South America. I'll take it. But if you're an American filmmaker dealing with an LA issue, you'd better do something about it: because you can. Tell me: "yes, he lost his company because of affirmative action, but it doesn't prove anything. You can not generalize." Or: "Maybe he's a gang member, then why don't you show him how to get out of there". You Paul Harris, say something for god's sake!

A woman get successively molested, then saved from certain death by the same man the next day. Then walks away crying, obviously confused. What does she think? What process of thought goes through her mind? We'd like to know, but the movie says nothing. It barely states, shows, and walks away. Pity.

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