FILM SYNOPSIS: In Crash, a simple car accident forms an uncompromising foundation for the complex discovery of race and prejudice. Paul Haggis’ overwhelming and incredibly thought provoking directorial debut succeeds in bringing to the forefront the behaviours that many people keep under their skin. And by thrusting these attitudes toward us with a highly deliberate, reckless abandon, Haggis puts racism on the highest pedestal for our review. There is no better place for this examination than the culturally diverse melting pot of modern-day Los Angeles.
In just over 24 hours, Crash brings together people from all walks of life. Two philosophizing black men steal the expensive SUV belonging to the white, L. A. District Attorney, and his high-strung wife. A similar vehicle belonging to a wealthy black television director and his wife is later pulled over by a racist cop and his partner. Soon, many of these people get mixed up with a Latino locksmith, a Persian storekeeper, and two ethnically diverse, dating police detectives. Every confrontation leads to an unwarrantably violent, outward display of racism.
Haggis and co-screenwriter Robert Moresco have created scrupulous characters who keep the film’s tension near the boiling point with merciless verbal assaults and sordid physical demonstrations of hatred. The characters are portrayed in shades of grey instead of stark black and white; villain and heroes. And that’s the primary point Haggis seeks to drive home with Crash. We’re all in some way swayed by our preconceptions of others, and our behaviours and attitudes are affected by the situations we find ourselves in.
In one example from the film, when the racist cop happens upon a serious traffic accident, he risks his own life to save the life of a black woman trapped inside her car. While, the previous night, he sexually assaulted this same woman while showing off to his rookie partner during a routine traffic stop. Consequently, “Crash” leaves no type of racism unaddressed. Some characters are angry racists, others are subtle racists, some don’t know that they’re racist and still others are trying to be racist. Crash is a film of collisions: vehicles, personalities, attitudes, stereotypes, conventions, and ultimately audience expectations. We crash into each other, just so we can feel something,” Don Cheadle murmurs contemplatively in a clunky opening-scene thesis statement that nevertheless sums up the film’s approach as well as its premise. Writer–director Paul Haggis definitely wants you to feel something, and spends the rest of the film doing his best to blindside your expectations, spin your emotions around and overturn your preconceptions. The content can be incredibly harsh at times, with constant obscenity and a number of deeply wrenching scenes. Yet Crash looks at our obsession with race and raises some sensitive issues with startling frankness.
Is a man who risks his life to save another any less a hero if he is also a bigot? How do you weigh one against the other, or average out the two to define the overall moral worth of the man? Neither detracts from or cancels out the other; they are both simply sheer facts about a person, with no way to mediate or relate them to one another, other than the fact that they are convincingly predicated of one and the same person. Still, the film finds real moral ambiguity in the struggles of a number of characters, above all Cheadle’s detective, who wrestles with various personal and professional issues and above all wishes to keep them separate.
Crash is a provocation, an insistent manifesto that filters every scene and almost every line of dialogue through the prism of race, but keeps turning the prism around and around until the colors no longer matter and we see only what the characters do. THE CHARACTERS IN CRASH ARE AWARE OF RACIAL SEGREGATION, AND NO ONE IS IMMUNE TO STEREOTYPING. This movie can be understood through the cognitive analysis of prejudice and intergroup relations.
Stereotyping can be thought of as a relatively stable set of shared generalizations about the supposed characteristics of the members of a group, a simplified picture in the head of what a set of people are claimed to be like. Far from being a neutral description or mildly flattering assessment, a stereotype held by a dominant or majority group about a sub ordinate or minority group is usually negative. In all probability that is likely to tell us more about the current relations between the two groups than about the actual characteristics of the minority. ? CONCLUSION: The title ‘Crash’ can be seen as metaphorical- the collision of different peoples’ lives. Splendidly crafted and visually stunning from start to finish, all of the performances in Crash are first rate; to single out one would be an injustice to the others. Even those with the smallest roles generate a large impact. Crash is not without some minor flaws. While the pure bluntness and confrontational nature these people take with their racist remarks delivers the film’s strong message, many times it feels like overkill.
It also seems like a bit of a reach that all of these individuals would cross paths multiple times in the second largest city in the U. S. Crash packs a giant emotional punch that keeps us watching and constantly demanding a closer look at our own attitudes and belief systems. This powerful and important film should not be missed. Until we as a society can take the time to understand the roots of discrimination and take a good look at our own thought patterns, we’ll never move forward.
Films like Crash are forcing us to look outside our own lives and fears, to realize that we’re more alike than we think. Aside from the 2% genetic differences between us, we all have problems and internal struggles. That’s what makes us human. REFERENCE: Brewer,M. B. and Miller, N. (1996) Intergroup Relations. Buckingham: Open University Press. James Ketterer(2009), Issues Related to Racism Within the Film Crash: An Insight Into the Stereotyping of Minority Characters in Crash http://independentfilms. suite101. com/article. cfm/issues_related_to_racism_within_the_film_crash#ixzz0u5fukvpS