• Joshua Buck

Crash (2005) Review

Los Angeles citizens with vastly separate lives collide in interweaving stories of race, loss and redemption.

In the screenwriting book Save The Cat some great advice that the book gives you on how to write a logline is that it needs irony. This is all I was thinking about this movie. The irony in this movie from scene to scene from all the characters is everywhere. This film is an advert on how irony creates conflict and what has Syd Field taught us in his book Screenplay?

“Without conflict. There is no drama.”

Script so many stories Crash has so many characters and so many stories. This is its success and its downfall at the same time. I get that the movie has all these characters and they have all these arcs to complete.

My favourite being the Mexican locksmith being subjected to racism and just trying to the best he can for his little girl. To go with this story there is about eight other characters and all that have arcs and I don’t know whether it works narratively as a film but I think it could work better as a television series. However, saying that it is only now I have gone away to think about it and as I write this review you realise that the whole story and all the separate story arcs are intertwined into one big story that shows the fragility of American society.

Another great story is Office Ryan (Matt Dillon) who clearly abuses his power and is a racist cop but the story also creates sympathy for him when it is shown his father is seriously ill and being ignored. I am not saying that his actions are justified but the movie provides a great scope so you understand his character.

The best performance of the movie came from Matt Dillon and I fully believed that his character, Officer Ryan was going through such internal conflict and the performance really bought this to light. The scene where he is with another young officer is an amazing bit of conflict that Matt really shines in proving that the young cops’ morals won’t last whilst being an officer. Which makes Officer Ryan come across as really set in his ways and shows that his character believes that the world isn’t capable of change.

The editing of this story/stories and the editing links them all together exceptionally well. The film cuts between scenes by matching up two shots e.g. someone leaving through a door and then another entering through a door in a different scene. This makes the editing of the movie seem invisible (unless you watch a load of movies and make movies, then this transition will scream in your face).

This film although its irony at every turn is unbelievable it is 100% believable. Crash represents everything that we have seen, and definitely more in recent times of what is wrong with America. It is shocking in what it reveals the prejudice of racial stereotyping and how racism is just common knowledge and is rife in this movie and shows up everywhere no matter where the social or economical status of a person.

To conclude, observing it for just one viewing I feel like the film didn’t deliver because the narrative structure was so unformulaic to what I have seen in a movie so for that I respect it but I personally wasn’t a fan of this idea of storytelling. However, I liked the movie for its message and delivers an excellent performance by Matt Dillon. Positives and negatives make this a hard one to score.

I rate this movie: 3.5/5.

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