Movie Review by Susan Hodgetts
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon, Jennifer Esposito
Director: Paul Haggis
If there is one film you go and see this summer, it really should be this one. Funny, heart-breaking and gut-wrenchingly truthful about our modern society, there couldn’t be a more topical, or important, film.
Post 9/11 and 7/7, racial tensions, fears and discomforts are nestling everywhere. The script focuses on LA, and how the film’s ensemble of characters are affected by some sort of “crash” in their lives, from Sandra Bullock’s housewife and her DA husband (Brendan Fraser), to Don Cheadle’s police detective, a black television director and his wife, a Mexican locksmith and his family, a couple of car jackers, a Persian store owner, and a rookie cop (Ryan Philippe), who has a lot of surprising things to learn.
Writer/director Paul Haggis (who also wrote Clint Eastwood’s MILLION DOLLAR BABY) shows incredible talent for beautiful, lyrical shooting and a stunning mental vision as well as a visual one. With an exceptional screenplay that is beautifully balanced yet does not fall into the trap of trying to provide answers, it manages to encompass the complexity of racial tension, and even inter-racial tension, in a time of simmering hostilities and mass suspicions. It shows every race questioning not only everyone else’s cultures and identities, but their own also.