Every once a year or two there will be a movie that you know very little, or perhaps nothing, about. You find yourself going in almost blindfolded, usually with another person, and any expectations you may have had either way of the movie are essentially erased from the equation by virtue of your own ignorance. It’s my favorite way to catch a flick, and this year it was Crash.
Crash is fantastic cinematic storytelling that utilizes a similar nonlinear style seen in, say, Traffic and 21 Grams. Like these two films, Crash is a collection of separate independent tales, involving many characters, and gradually weaves these parallel storylines into a thought provoking fabric rich with poignant social messages.
Not unlike Do The Right Thing, Crash fearlessly celebrates the art of stereotyping, placing specific events of the story into contextual situations that are so universal it’s actually difficult to understand why we label them stereotypes in the first place.
It’s a relationship movie, a look at the human condition. You’ll find a believable array of nearly every possible relationship you can think of in Crash: wife/husband, father/son, father/daughter, mother/daughter, mother/son, brother/brother, cop/partner, lawyer/assistant, and so on. Yet beneath the surface of that, you’ll find the real meaning of Crash. There’s another layer to these relationships that addresses issues of loyalty, responsibility, and empathy as they concern race, family, and economic class.
The cast boasts many names, some you may like, others you may not. Like any good movie with substance, my real enjoyment came from the writing, not the performance of the actors.
How Benicio Del Toro wasn’ t in this movie, I’ll never know.