Friday, December 09, 2005

Crash d. Paul Haggis, 2005

"And wasn't it so cool the way that, like, they showed racism exactly how it is? You know, even if you're not racist, you still are, at least a little bit. Like, we all have these things ingrained into our systems - it might be genetic? - that we can't help...and then the music and the way that it all built up in the end like it was all connected. And the blanks...I had NO IDEA!! And did you see that the white guy had a black Saint Christopher and the black guy had a white Saint Christopher? It's so...true...cause we're, like, all the same, you know? Wow. What a great film!"

Wait: really? Seriously? Seriously? Paul Haggis should be smarter than this, right? I mean, he wrote Million Dollar Baby and created the hit television series Walker, Texas Ranger. Crash is unforgivable, vapid filmmaking. Layer upon rotten layer of racism spoonfed to the viewer without any semblance of purpose. I get the point that racism exists, and I hate it - and there were parts of this film that moved me to authentic anger and frustration with the world we live in as much as any film I've seen - but an unveiling of racism in and of itself is pointless. Doesn't the attentive viewer see this on television every day? Don't we read about it in the newspaper each morning? Aren't the sit-coms on primetime television, on all the major networks, filled with racial stereotypes enough for us to get the point? Maybe not. I don't know. The problem with the film is not the ubiquity of racism - this is stuff that should be seen - but the pandering way in which it is handled and the fact that the quasi-resolutions Haggis proposes are the social equivalent to pissing on a forest fire. The most deplorable trick is The Switch. Here's how it works: we follow one man or woman around for a bit and see them as either a victim or perpetrator of racism, one or the other. Then, when we next return to the character, we see them in the opposing role. Get it? The worst of these character flips is found in Matt Dillon's character, whom, after molesting a black woman, saves the same woman from a burning wreck. All is forgiven and all is atoned; we all take part in racism and we are all hurt by it. Hooray Haggis - you are a fucking genius.

Crash takes place in LA, has a large and relatively famous ensemble cast (the big names mixed in with the really solid b-list actors), features the poignant and scene punctuating sounds of a late-20's female singer, and ends in a storm of falling frogs, er, I mean snow. Yeah, the movie owes a good deal to Magnolia, which is already greatly indebted to Altman's Short Cuts. So Paul Haggis cannot even commit the filmic felony of hackery on original turf? This is pathetic, sloppy reprehensible filmmaking. For all those taken, look again.


Blogger jamiiep said...

so, anyone can post, but my post on Crash isn't here yet.. and i've posted it weeks ago. nice.

07 January, 2006 12:31  
Blogger Michael K. said...

Here's the thing: I'm really used to pushing the "reject" button 'cause most of the comments are reject-worthy: porn, enhancement, et cetera. I accidentally rejected your comment and then tried to email you, but the email was bounced back to me. I tried to retrieve your comment, but to no avail. So: I think I still have the email - I'll search for it - and I can post it verbatim, or you can try again. Lemme' know, huh?

08 January, 2006 12:44  
Blogger Maya said...

"Crash" was filled with so many moments of "hot" acting (per Reygadas) that I hardly remember the film at all at this point, except for its completely implausible placement of racial representatives within a convenient five-block radius. I rank it with one of those films I get to see for free at advance screenings, which I go to see because they're free, but, when I sit down to write, are not the ones I want to write about.

08 March, 2006 22:51  
Anonymous Gabi said...

It was the one of the best movies that i have ever saw. I am loocking for his email... if you have it please send me an email with it. Thank you.

03 May, 2006 16:33  

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