Crash is a rare cinematic event. It is a highly undercut movie, in the sense that almost everyone thinks it did not deserve the awards it got. It’s also an underrated movie, in the sense that not many people truly appreciate its genius.
Set over a period of 36 hours in post 9/11 Los Angeles, Crash is literally a snapshot in the lives of a few people that inhabit the city. A racist white cop who disgusts his partner, an African-American TV director and his wife, a Persian store-owner inept with English, a white suburban wife, whose idea of a perfect life is one that doesn’t involve much of the different other, and her DA Husband, two car-jackers, two racially different investigators who happen to be lovers and a Mexican locksmith trying to sustain his wife and daughter.
Crash examines the cultural crash that takes place when all these characters come together. It intelligently examines the fear and bigotry that take place when we don’t understand what the other is dealing with. It shows how everyone is intolerant at points, how no one is immune to violence that, at some points, can change lives drastically.
Crash explores the gray area between black and white, between Persian and Latino. It doesn’t stray away from showing the severity of misunderstanding. It doesn’t hide away from showing how quick we are to judge each other. Crash is unflinching. It rips open the bandages that are keeping a fragile multi-ethnic society and exposes the wound beneath.
All the performances in Crash are riveting and captivating. You come to hate Sandra Bullock’s character at points (yes, apparently that is possible). You sympathize with the Persian man when the language barrier hits him but shout at him when he wants to do some serious wrong. The overall cast does a tremendous job in delivering this movie and are committed to the cause at hand.
Crash won best picture in 2005. When it was pronounced as the winner, the audience gasped. They were not expecting it to win. Everyone was rooting for Brokeback Mountain. Well, let me say this. There’s no way that Brokeback Mountain is the better movie between these two. Hollywood is just swooned nowadays by anything gay that is discussed in movies that gain traction or any sort of critical acclaim. Sure, Brokeback Mountain was not a bad movie, but it was not the phenomenon it was described to be. Crash definitely deserved to win best picture that year.
Overall, Crash asks some very tough questions and lets the viewer struggle with finding answers. It’s hard to find a movie that engages you as much with as little plot as possible. It’s real, gut-wrenching and at times hard to watch – simply because it shows some aspects of life so achingly well that it hurts.