August 14, 2005

Crash film review

Crash Directed by: Paul Haggis. Writing credits (WGA): Paul Haggis (story) Paul Haggis (screenplay), Robert Moresco (screenplay) (as Bobby Moresco)

As the line above will tell you this is Paul Haggis's baby and as of my entering the cinema screen on Friday night, I knew nothing about Paul Haggis. I only know things now because I clicked on his name on IMDB. Paul Haggis is an experienced writer, producer and director. In particular he wrote, produced and directed some episodes of my favourite TV show of all time Due South. So I now know the man has got credentials to back up the skill I saw in the film.

The film itself is a clever idea. Taking a cue from Pulp Fiction and Timecode and I'm sure other films I don't yet know about, the film follows a variety of characters as they go through 2 days of their lives. These characters lives intersect at critical points and that serves to make the drama of the piece. Especially when most of the intersections are based on the character's race. Make no mistake, this film has a point to make and it's something to do with race but, after watching it, I'm not entirely sure what that point is. Racism is bad, that's true, but I think the film tries to show that even though we KNOW discrimination is bad, wrong and we shouldn't be a part of it, it still happens, sometimes consciously, sometimes subconciously. The film is a little difficult to watch, especially the part where a missing son causes a mother's drug habit, but I think that's the point.

For me, each character's story was strong and intertwined very well with the others. Occasionally I thought the coincdences were just slightly too nice and neat but I let it go and enjoyed the film instead. The cast all do a very good job putting in strong performances. In particular, I was surprised and impressed by Rya Phillipe who doesn't have the most impressive resume let's be honest but was able to pull off a character stuck, many times, between rocks and hard places. Unfortunately though, I couldn't buy Jennifer Esposito's character as a cop. She did well in the part but I just kept thinking "Stacey, make Mike Flaherty some coffee!" (And if you don't get the reference, shame on you!)

A strong film, a likeable cast, it's just a shame it loses focus every now and then. Good ideas though.