05 September 2005

Crash (2004)

Crash is a perfect example of a well marketed film that fully utilizes the power of the film review quote and 'look at the pedigree' of this film maker. Prior to Crash film maker Paul Figgis has been attached to many projects (mainly as a writer) as diverse as 'Due South' and.....erm...'The Tracey Ulman Show'. However this isn't a past the studios want us to know about-and lets face it when you've written the screenplay for the multi Oscar winning 'Million dollar Baby' what other credentials do you need to espouse? Its this single biggest and most well known credit that is splashed on film posters along with some choice film quotes which possibly could lead one to believe that this film will be excellent. Well not this cinema goer.

Crash is a disjointed non linear narrative-a technique rinsed so many times and made popular by the far superior film maker John Altman (the phrase Altmanesque is oft quoted to describe such a film), that fails miserably. Its a film which has a 'message' with no point. It could be argued that its a film about the 'futility of racism' which is an admirable point to make-what it actually turns out to be is a ham fisted poorly made film that relentlessly batters you with racism in every scene.

There is little redemption-the structure of the movie doesn't tie itself up neatly in the end and it leaves with you with no real answers-no reflective period just an empty feeling and a nasty one at that. Figgis not only takes control of the directing but also scripts and writes the screenplay for this movie and you get the impression that he is a director with a 'vision'-but what that vision is remains unclear. Its clear that this film is personal to Figgis but somehow he allowed what could've been a potentially great film sink even further with some dire casting-including the truly awful Brendon 'George of The Jungle' Fraser and Sandra 'I Only do Sandra' Bullock. Don Cheadle does a grand job of grimacing and seems to act in a shockingly restrained manner (compared to previous roles he has played) and even the normally reliable Matt Dillon puts in a 'turn up on the day and collect my pay cheque' perfomance.

Crash is a wannabe film that resembles many films but plagiarises poorly. The musical score is totally ratcheted up to annoyingly dramatic levels. Actor close ups only work when the acting is good-which in this case it clearly isn't. There is some interesting cinematography in this film but you get the feeling that he is trying to over arch into 'stylish' to give the film some sort of credibility. Some of the film resembles a Made for TV Movie and some of the story strands border on the ridiculous.

Crash is a deeply unsatisfying movie that simply tries to hard. Its messy film making that doesn't know what it wants to be-the bastardised son Magnolia whose had sex with the aunty of Short Cuts. Very disappointing.


Blogger Descartes said...

Well, almost the complete opposite, a tightly woven tapestry of urban LA life. The 'racist' element is an excuse for not being aware, of not appreciating the common bonds inherent in society. Any one living in a multi ethnic society will recognise and understand the pressure that create the frustrations that are completely divorced from racism. The Police oficer with the dying father, takes his venom out on anyone, his dedication to duty also knows no boundarys when they need help, the complex relation ship between father and daughter, the protection the daughter offers and gives is reflected in the life or death incidents. A complex story of trauma, of principles abandoned, of protest, with both happy and sad endings in equal numbers.

Not a great film but a very good film. The cameo roles, the questionable politics within US society, the humour and repartee all contribute to a good ebeings entertainment.

7:36 PM  
Blogger Descartes said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:38 PM  
Blogger welshDJ said...

Mmmm....Id say not. Despite its non linear structure I wouldnt describe it as 'tightly woven'. The individual plotlines dont sit or flow very well-infact Id say its scrappily put together. Fractured film making works well when it all comes together e.g Magnolia or 21 grams. This film fails to bring it all together.
However I guess its all subjective-thanks for replying to review though.

4:16 PM  
Blogger Sophie Campbell said...

The Directors name is Paul Haggis. Perhaps you should be getting that right before you review a film. Also I didn't enjoy the films narrative but it is beautifully shot and James Michael Muro is an excellent cinematographer as well as camera op.

It is a typical modern ensemble film that explores themes or issues observed to be representative of postmodern society and practices, in this case of the ensemble film subgenre the representation is of the politics of difference. Crash attempts to (successfully) connect the pattern of the political and social landscape of postmodern society to serve a cathartic function. In this case the viewer connects through the narrative, aesthetics and interpersonal relationships of the film as a form of “cognitive mapping” which the audience perhaps does not realise parallels their own reality.

No matter whether you enjoy it or not it fulfills its purpose.

9:13 AM  
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