Sunday, May 15, 2005


I saw Crash yesterday. It's another one of those ensembles set in Los Angeles where a group of strangers' lives from very different walks of life become intertwined through coincidence. There are several films out there that have done this before and they are all set in Los Angeles. Some examples are: Robert Altman's Short Cuts, Grand Canyon, Magnolias, or even Pulp Fiction. I am not sure if any of the fine films did a better job with that type of storytelling device than what Paul Haggis accomplished with Crash.

I don't know what it is about Los Angeles. It is ugly and beautiful all at once. It has no central meeting place, ugly storefronts, sunny weather and palm trees. I remember watching one beautiful sunset there and was amazed by the beauty of the orange sky, yet all of the while I knew that an unhealthy level of smog was responsible for that lovely sight.

As for living in the city, one character remarks, "The city isn't a city at all, but a vast expanse of isolated communities, a melting pot where nothing ever melts except for the psyches of its residents." However, the line that struck me the most was in the opening where Don Cheadle's character said, "In any real city, you walk. We're always behind this metal and glass. It's the sense of touch. I think we miss that touch so much, we crash into each other just so we can feel something."

I won't divulge much more so not to spoil the movie. However, the movie focuses (perhaps too earnestly at times) upon race relations in this country. All of the ingredients are there, the racist LAPD cop, the uppity "uncle tom" black man, the iranian immigrants, Chinese, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, young black criminals, and a white politician who tries to use race to his advantage. Race is a character in every scene of this film and Los Angeles provides the perfect milieu.


Blogger lemming said...

People magazine liked it a lot. Oddly enough, so did the New Yorker and my netx door neighbor. Praise indeed!

(my last film seen in the theater: Love Actually)

May 16, 2005  
Blogger torporific said...

I loved Love Actually. Of course, I like all of those films.

I forgot that I should add the Michael Mann film Collateral to this list. There were a few coincidental meetings in that film as well, and of course, it is set in LA.

May 16, 2005  

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