Originally Posted by Saucemaster
What is it that you guys liked about Crash? Without trying to offend anyone's taste here, my response to Crash was that it was overwrought, populated entirely by stereotypes and cinematic cliches, and that at best its conclusion (Racism Is Bad, Everyone's A Racist, Even Racists Are People Too, And Sometimes They Even Have Real Problems!) should serve as the *starting point* for any serious and thought-provoking movie about race, not the ending point. I read in a review somewhere that Crash was "like a bad general: fighting the last war" and that seemed a PERFECT description to me. The problem with racism in America right now isn't so much one of people screaming racial epithets at each other and racial violence erupting at every turn; in fact, I'd go so far as to say that the *real* problem with racism is this country is that people still think that Crash is what racism looks like. This lets them ignore their own more pedestrian, quietly racist assumptions and prejudices. My fiancee, for example, will always cross the street if she sees two guys approaching her on a dark or deserted street. UNLESS they're black or Latino, because she doesn't want to appear racist. (Something similar was mentioned in some random other review that I read online as well, and rung very true for me.) This is in itself a form of racism, of course, and is a much more interesting and trickier problem to deal with. But Crash seemed blithely oblivious to the subtle forms of racism that pervade our culture, and focused only on the (melo)dramatic forms of racism that we all know are bad. And it doesn't focus on how, for example, the development of politically correct ways to discuss race, despite good intentions, has actually served in many cases to simply provide a smoke-screen for racism.
So I guess the best thing I can say about Crash was that it was naive. Good intentions, but it missed the point. It's like the couple we all know who can talk about the evils of racism all day, but will avoid walking down any downtown street that's not at least 60% populated with white people because it "seems sketchy".
Plus, on a sheerly artistic level, like I said, overwrought melodrama with wooden dialogue (though some very solid performances).
I know that was harsh, but that's my honest reaction to the movie. Disagreements? Why am I wrong about it?
I didn't have such a negative reaction to the movie, but I see your point. I think that, frankly, it is impossible to do a topic as complicated as race relations in America justice in a two hour movie. I also agree that most people, in my experience, are not overtly racist. It is the silent, lingering prejudices that are most damaging in today's society. This is also the most difficult racism to combat (to truly change the way people think, no matter what they say "on the surface"). I think it would be nearly impossible to communicate this sort of prejudice in a movie (certainly it would be much more difficult than to show the overt racism which was set forth in Crash).
That said, I thought the acting in Crash was very solid. In particular, I though Matt Dillon and Don Cheadle were very good. As I said above, I don't think Crash was best picture material, but I do think it was a solid effort. It was also the only one of the five best picture nominees I saw (too busy chasing after my children), so I cannot judge it against the other choices.