Director: Paul Haggis
DVD released: Sept. 6, 2005
Cast: Matt Dillon, Don Cheadle, Ryan Phillipe, Sandra Bullock
All the second-guessing about whether this or that film should have won the best picture Oscar aside, there's no denying that Crash has an emotional impact roughly equivalent to a 12-car pileup. It's an elaborate house of cards built with a tremendous cast of intersecting characters, and the rewards are many if you simply accept the cards as they're dealt rather than nitpicking whether the actions of some are too contrived. I love how the movie artfully and unselfconsciously tweaks the characters' and the viewers' expectations of behavior based on race. And this is no exercise in political correctness – there's plenty of bad behavior all around. It all unfolds in what is more a series of coincidentally connected events – a carjacking, the trashing of a store, a crash scene rescue – than a traditional plot. The essential point of the film is that we're all just people who need each other far more than we need the perceived differences between ourselves that humans are so hung up on. This point is crystallized in the crash rescue scene, one of the most poignant movie moments I've seen in years. By the time the movie reached its climactic scenes of urban madness played against Mark Isham's equally emotional score, I was blissfully wrecked.