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Crash (2004)Crash (2004)

This tense urban drama set in Los Angeles opens with a car wreck that serves as a metaphor for the collisions between ordinary people because of the racist rage that underlies their particular English vernaculars, work, dress, music, marriage and family. A Persian shop keeper ("They think we're Arabs!"), a Hispanic locksmith, two black hoodlums, a wealthy black film director, redneck white trash, a despicable suburban white couple, a naive white rookie cop, and other ethnic typecasts are all trapped in stereotypes that they project on to others, paranoia (not all of which is unjustified), bigotry, and mutual misunderstanding. In this film good people are bad and bad people are good, and most everyone is a mixture of the two. A corrupt cop who molested a woman he apprehended later rescues her from a burning vehicle with professionalism, bravery and genuine compassion: "You think you know who you are," he tells a younger cop, "but just wait a few years." He rages at a black HMO clerk but at home tenderly cares for his dying father. Accidental encounters and random events "crash" these fallible human beings into one another in a world void of all political correctness. Director Paul Haggis does an excellent job of showing the corrosive power of racism not only between people but even among people who are otherwise from the same "group."

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