By Johnathan Kroncke
By Johnathan Kroncke
“Crash” follows the intertwining lives and careers of several different Los Angeles residents and how their experiences with racism either bring them together or tear them apart.
Don Cheadle stars as Graham, a detective who must find himself in between the madness of his personal life and the racial prejudice he faces stemming from his job.
Graham’s younger brother Peter, played by Larenz Tate, must listen to his friend Anthony, played by Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, complain non-stop about the stereotype that all blacks are criminals. All the while, two are carjacking people at gun-point.
Of course, they just so happen to stick a gun in the face of Rick, the district attorney of Los Angeles, played by Brendan Fraser, and his wife Jeane, played by Sandra Bullock. Jeane is so shaken up that she regresses into a racist mindset, believing the young Mexican locksmith will sell the keys to his friends.
Daniel, the locksmith played by Michael Pena, wants nothing more than to provide a good and safe life for his little daughter. Unfortunately, the Middle Eastern owner of a shop where Daniel fixed a lock believes that he broke in and destroyed everything.
Farhad, played by Shaun Toub, is the victim of unending racism as well. So much so that he purchases a gun from an extremely prejudiced American to protect his little shop from any more racists in the area.Naturally, the L.A.P.D. are shown harassing people, this time a rich black couple. Christine, played by Thandie Newton, becomes enraged with her husband Cameron, played by Terrence Howard, for not doing more to stop the police from molesting her. Cameron goes through struggles of his own in his predominately white workplace.
The only drawback to “Crash” is that the theme of racism, at times, feels a bit heavy and the conflicts between characters are somewhat unbelievable. Every character experiences racism constantly, including the few white characters who are either racist themselves or accused of being racist.
While each character experiences racism in one form or another, they all seem to harbor their own prejudices. Graham’s partner, a young Hispanic woman, is rear-ended by an older Asian woman. Instead of simply resolving the problem and moving on, the two fire one racial stereotype after another at each other which only serves to make them more upset.However, minor setbacks aside, “Crash” is an incredibly powerful film. The strong performances from both Terrence Howard and Michael Pena make for some the most emotional scenes and transform the film from good to great.
Paul Haggis writes and directs a gem with “Crash” and is more than deserving of an Academy Award nomination for his work. When audiences leave the theaters, they take with them a sense of what others feel in their daily lives. Haggis allows people to step outside of their own little world and see what someone else’s is like. Everyone, without exception, should see this film.