Crash is a cross-section of racism in modern American society. Given this fact, it’s ultimately a surprisingly enjoyable film. Spoiler: not a lot of people actually die, and almost everyone else has a better understanding of others by the end. It’s pretty uplifting, and the concept – a film following a dozen different people through a series of separate stories that still touch each other at points – is carried through beautifully by the screenwriter. As a writer, I know it’s tough enough to write a handful of different races in a realistic manner even without trying to make a ton of stories meaningfully intersect in interesting, unexpected ways.
Screenwriting was acknowledged in one of the Academy Awards the film received, but I didn’t notice the strength of the other area: I’m probably still rusty at noticing the editing in a film. A couple scene transitions were cool – a door is shut as we cut to another story’s door being opened; a car passes and the scene changes – but little stood out to me aside from those. Sure, there are a lot of stories going on, so the scene transitions need to be good in order to avoid confusing the audience at the wrong time or not confusing them at the right time, but the scenes and dialogue themselves determine whether the transitions work, and those are the task of the screenwriter.
The one scene that I loved the most happened during a scene featuring the racist policeman walking down the street. A white van pulls up, blocking the man for a few seconds, and we see that an elderly Asian man, who later turns up in another story, is driving it. Then the light changes, the van pulls forward, and we can see the policeman once again. It’s a small scene, but it highlights the theme of the film: we never interact with those around us until we crash into them somehow, and people pass by unaware of each other all the time. To remind us, in the final scene, which features a fender-bender, the camera pulls up into a bird’s eye shot (the only one I noticed in the film) that reveals more and more individuals stepping into drivers’ argument, as they are all brought together in a dispute over a crash.
I liked the film. I tend to unfairly dislike dramas just because I don’t like feeling sad after I finish them, but Crash’s strong writing kept me interested, and its moderately uplifting emotional feel kept me happy.