Monday, March 06, 2006

still feel the same about Crash

In light of its surprise win for Best Picture, I will once again run my mini-review of Crash in my list of Best Movies of 2005, which I ran in early January. Click here for the full list (I should update it having seen many of the other films I had not yet seen when compiling the list- especially Matchpoint).

I still stand by my assessment of this film which attempts Magnolia like grandeur, but fails, ending up like 13 Conversations About 1 Thing, which is better than average, but not in the realm of the masterful multi-storyline it shoots for. It is ironic that in a year in which the great Robert Altman (top 5 directors EVER) in finally honored with a Honorary Oscar (when he should have won at least 3 real director awards), a film which completely copies his style (made popular in Nashville and Short Cuts) wins an award which alluded him so often.

Anyway, here is the review from earlier...

Crash is a grand failure. It is grand in scope and grasped importance (like a Bush presidency or the film Apocalypse Now), but it fails in a number of ways, including length (too short for proper character and plot development), character development (many characters have no consistency or act in ways which contradict the film's set up). It is well acted (for the most part, though the performances are uneven- thumbs up to Dillon and Cheadle/ thumbs down to Bullock) and elicits great discussion, even if some of its own answers are too pat.

I can give a more indepth review and criticism if this makes no sense.


Dustin said...

I loved Crash. You're wrong.

james said...

You mentioned "many characters have no consistency or act in ways which contradict the film's set up."

I could be wrong, but I thought this was intentional and part of the greater point of the film.

Rick said...


As a student of human nature, Haggis should have been a bit more careful. You cannot completely change the central values and behavior of a character without explanation or a bit of development which would show how they would ge tto this point.

It is well doen when we see Matt Dillon's changes and his complexity. It also works well with Terrance Howard.

It fails miserably in the case of Ryan Philippe. I felt it was disengenuous and cheap (as in cheap parlor trick) to have him act with such care and thought in the SUV moment with Howard, yet react with such fear and quickness in the case of the kid he kills.

It is inauthentic to his character's development up to that point.

I also feel a bit the same about Cheadle's character. They should have given more to us for him to capitulate to the DAs office so suddenly.

I think Crash at 2.5 hours would have helped. I cannot believe it won editing because it seemed disjointed at times, even if that was the point.

Does this make sense?

james said...

I think i understand what you are saying, but i guess I don't see where you have the trouble with it. I mean, i do see and understand that you found it disengenuous with Phillipe in those two cases . . . but have a little trouble finding those two scenarios at odds with one another. Perhaps I will need to see the film again, and watch with more clarity in these two sequences.

Anonymous said...

I see what you're saying and I agree that there could have been more character development.

But you're overall assessment seems too strong, regardless.