Last Updated 20 Apr 2022

Crash Review

Category Anger, Police, Racism
Essay type Review
Words 2463 (9 pages)
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Crash (2004) Paragraph 1: Crash tells the story of people from wildly disparate walks of life as they collide and intersect with one another. Each life is in some way personally affected, changed, damaged, or victimized by racism. They’re also all in some way guilty of racism themselves. via interlocking stories, the cultural, racial, and spiritual isolation of Los Angelinos. Due to the sprawling city's decentralized, car-reliant layout, Haggis's characters have become sheltered from those not in their own socio-economic sphere, and this seclusion has led to virulent narrow-mindedness.

Rick Cabot (Brendan Fraser) is the white District Attorney of Los Angeles who participates in racial politics in order to further his career. Rick and his wife Jean are carjacked by Anthony and Peter, both of whom are black. To preserve his support in the black community as the election approaches, Rick arranges for his assistant to blackmail Detective Graham Waters, who is black, into testifying against a white cop whom Graham thinks is innocent in order to create a press event that will reassure voters of Cabot's racial sensitivity.

The film alludes to the possibility Rick might be having an affair with his black assistant. Jean Cabot (Sandra Bullock) is Rick's wife, whose racial prejudices escalate after she and her husband experience a carjacking. When a tattooed, Mexican-American locksmith changes the locks to her house, she insists that the locks be changed again in fear that he is keeping an extra copy of their house key. Following an accident in her home, she comes to the realization that the person who is her only true friend is Maria, her Hipic maid who she has belittled and treated sub-human up until this point.

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Anthony (Ludacris) is a black, inner-city car thief who steals cars to sell to a chop shop. Anthony brings awareness to many racial and stereotypical views others hold to blacks even though some of his actions at the same time reinforce them. He provides a good example of the term ‘double consciousness. ’ Anthony steals a van which was full of trafficked people from South East Asia. Even though he is aware of racism suffered by black people, he refers to the immigrants as Chinamen, a stereotype in itself.

After refusing to sell the trafficked people to the chop shop owner, he instead shows compassion for them and lets them out onto the Asian district of Los Angeles and gives them money to eat. Peter Waters (Larenz Tate) is Anthony's friend and partner in crime. He is also Detective Waters' younger brother. Like Anthony, he is black. Peter is shot to death by Officer Hansen, who picks him up in the Valley, hours after their failed carjacking of Cameron's Lincoln Navigator and mistakenly shoots him after assuming he is drawing a gun during an escalating argument.

In reality he was reaching into his pocket to show the cop a figure of Saint Christopher, identical to the one Officer Hansen had stuck to his dashboard. As he is dying, he has an expression of shock/surprise and holds out his hand to reveal he had no weapon. Detective Graham Waters (Don Cheadle) is an African-American detective in the Los Angeles Police Department. He is disconnected from his poor family, which consists of his drug-addicted mother and criminal younger brother. He promises his mother that he will find his younger brother, but he is preoccupied with a case concerning a suspected racist white cop who shot a corrupt black cop.

Flanagan (William Fichtner), an assistant to the district attorney, offers Graham the chance to further his career in exchange for withholding evidence that could possibly have helped the white cop's case. Flanagan also tries to convince Graham that the black community needs to see the black cop as a hero, and not as a drug dealer, as Graham suspects that he may have been. Graham is both offended and opposed, and is ready to storm out, when Flanagan mentions that there is a warrant out for Graham's brother's arrest, and that this is his third felony, which carries a life sentence in the state of California.

Graham makes a very difficult personal decision to withhold evidence and possibly corrupt a case in order to have the District Attorney forget about his brother. That brother is eventually revealed to be Peter, the hitchhiker who is killed by Officer Hansen. Graham's detachment from his mother culminates when his mother, having learned of Pete's death, blames Graham as the reason behind his brother's murder. It is shown that she has always favored the younger brother.

This fact exasperates Graham at the end when his mother claims Pete came home and brought groceries for her, when in reality, it was Graham that took the time to restock her previously desolate food supply. Ria (Jennifer Esposito) is a Latina detective, as well as Graham's partner and girlfriend. When a phone call from Graham's mother interrupts his sexual romp with Ria, she becomes upset with Graham for being disrespectful to his mother and his subsequently racially insensitive remark towards Hipics after implying she was a Mexican, which she was in fact Puerto Rican and Salvadorean.

She is shown to be racist toward Asians, as she criticizes an Asian woman's driving. Officer Tommy Hansen (Ryan Phillippe) is a Los Angeles police officer who, after observing his partner Officer John Ryan pull over Cameron Thayer and Christine Thayer and sexually molest Christine, requests a change of partner because of feelings of guilt over the incident. His supervisor, Lieutenant Dixon, tells him he will transfer him if he claims his "uncontrollable flatulence" requires him to drive a one-man car. The next day, after he presumably files the request, he is reassigned to a single-man patrol car.

While on patrol he joins a police chase of Cameron Thayer, who was being car-jacked, but fought off his carjackers and is fleeing the scene with one carjacker still in the car. After driving into a dead-end, Cameron, now resentful of the LAPD, confronts the police officers. Tommy jumps in front of Cameron and tries to convince him to stand down to avoid a confrontation which could possibly result in Cameron's death. He then vouches for Cameron, stating that he is a friend of his, and lets him off with a "harsh warning. Tommy is later seen driving in his car when he picks up Peter Waters, who is hitch-hiking. He ultimately reveals his own insecurities with other races (African-Americans in particular) through his treatment of Peter Waters and how he quickly dismisses Waters' attempts to compare similarities between them. He pulls over when he assumes that Peter is laughing at him, and tells him to get out of the car. As Peter reaches into his pocket, Tommy wrongly assumes that Peter is reaching for a hidden gun, and shoots him dead. He removes Peter from the car to cover up the incident.

We later see Peter, who is the brother of Graham Waters, dead in the grass near where Tommy pulled over. Finally, we see Tommy walking away from his burning car wearing a pair of latex gloves, thus concealing his involvement in the shooting. Officer John Ryan (Matt Dillon) is a bigoted white police officer who sexually molests Cameron's wife, Christine, under the pretense of searching for a weapon after pulling over their vehicle and accusing them of endangerment due to Christine performing fellatio on Cameron while he was driving.

Meanwhile, Ryan is trying to get help for his father, who possibly suffers from prostate cancer but has been diagnosed with a bladder infection, despite the ineffectiveness of treatment. His anger manifests in prejudice, as is evident when he exhibits a racist attitude towards an HMO employee preventing his father from seeing an out of network, non-HMO physician. His racial prejudices seem to stem from the destructive impact that local affirmative action policies had on his father's business. After Hansen requests solo patrol, Ryan is partnered with a Hipic-American with whom he seems to get along.

Ryan later puts his own life on the line to save Christine, the woman he molested earlier, from certain death in a fiery car wreck. Lieutenant Dixon (Keith David) is Officers Ryan and Hansen's shift Lieutenant. An African American, Dixon believes that the LAPD is a racist organization that he personally had to work extra hard in to earn a ranking position. When Hansen requests to change partners, Dixon refuses stating that doing so because of Officer Ryan's racism will reflect poorly on their unit.

He claims that going on record about supervising racist officers such as Ryan can be a move that will cost both Hansen and Dixon their jobs. In order to get away from Officer Ryan, he then suggests that Officer Hansen ride in a solo car claiming to have a condition of "uncontrollable flatulence. " Cameron Thayer (Terrence Howard) is a black television director. He witnesses Officer Ryan molesting his wife and later realises that the producers of his television show propagate racist stereotypes about black people.

In an emotional moment, he fights off Anthony and Peter when they try to steal his car, takes away Anthony's gun, and argues fiercely with armed white police officers. Just when it is very likely that he will be shot to death, Hansen intervenes on his behalf and prevents any outbreak of violence. After being let off with a warning, Cameron then proceeds to let Anthony go and even gives him his gun back. At the scene of Hansen's burning car (to eliminate evidence of a murder), he is able to find contentment and reconnnects with his wife.

Christine Thayer (Thandie Newton) is Cameron's wife. She is molested by Ryan after she and Cameron are pulled over for her giving oral sex to her husband while he was driving them home. She becomes furious with her husband because he didn't defend her. The two insult each other over their upbringings – as both Cameron and Christine have grown up in more privileged environments than many other African Americans. The next day she is trapped in an overturned car due to a car accident and, by a twist of fate, Officer Ryan is the man who willingly endangers himself to save her life.

Daniel Ruiz (Michael Pena) is a Mexican-American locksmith who faces discrimination from Jean and others because he looks like a gangbanger to them, when he is actually a devoted family man. After Anthony and Peter steal Jean and Rick's car, Daniel comes over and changes the locks on their home. Daniel seeks a safe environment for his young daughter, Elizabeth, who had a bullet go through her window in their previous home. That is why he moved to a safer neighborhood and enrolled her in a private school. Near the beginning he gives Elizabeth an invisible "cloak" that he says will protect her should someone try to shoot at her.

Farhad shoots at Elizabeth and Daniel but they escape unhurt, because the gun contains blanks chosen by Dorri earlier in the film. However, Elizabeth believes that this is due to the protective powers of the "cloak. " Farhad (Shaun Toub) is a Persian store owner who is afraid for his safety. He is depicted as frustrated by the racial harassment he experiences in the United States (despite being an American citizen), as well as deterred by difficulties with speaking English. To protect his store - the only thing his family has - he goes to a gun shop and attempts to buy a gun.

The gun store owner quickly becomes frustrated with Farhad's conversation with his daughter Dorri in Persian, leading to harassment from the owner, who believes that Persians are Arabs and therefore, terrorists, one of these comments being "Yo, Osama, plan the jihad on your own time. " The owner refuses to sell Farhad a gun, but finally sells the gun to Farhad's daughter after being cryptic and lecherous about which bullets she needs. The store run by Farhad and his wife Shereen (Marina Sirtis) has a door which will not close properly, so they call a locksmith, Daniel.

Farhad's suspicion of others is compounded by his difficulty understanding English; he does not heed Daniel's warning that his shop door needs replacing, believing Daniel intends to cheat him, and as a result suffers a break-in. Shereen reacts to the slurs written on the walls of the store: "They think we're Arab. When did Persian become Arab? " Blaming Daniel for the invasion and racially-motivated destruction of his store, and angered by the insurance company rejecting his claim on the grounds of negligence, he confronts Daniel at his house, wielding his gun.

Farhad fires at Daniel but accidentally shoots Daniel's daughter Lara, to the horror of both Daniel and Farhad. Fortunately, unknowingly to Farhad, the gun contains blanks. Farhad leaves without further incident, later telling his daughter that his "farishta," his guardian angel, protected him and his family. Dorri (Bahar Soomekh) is Farhad's daughter, and is more acclimated than her father to American culture. She purposefully purchases blanks after her father has upset the man at the counter in the gun store. She is constantly trying to calm her father down during his emotional outbursts.

She is also an employee at the hospital; she escorts Graham and his mother to Peter's body after it is discovered in a field. Paragraph 2: Thirty-six hours in the life of a disparate group of Los Angelinos linked together by a car crash. The debut film from Million Dollar Baby screenwriter Paul Haggis as succession of characters become involved in heated exchanges that either bring to the surface long-buried prejudices or fan the flames of hatred already out in the open. The film is about racial and social tensions in Los Angeles.

Reminiscent of Magnolia and Short Cuts, Crash comprises a number of separate stories that are loosely connected. Set over a period of 24 hours, each vignette offers a different perspective of the multi-ethnic melting pot that is life in Los Angeles. The film uses its characters not so much to tell a story, but to express an opinion, from the racial cop (Matt Dillon), to the campaigning District Attorney (Brendan Fraser) anxious to capture the black vote, to the black television director (Terence Howard) toning down his ethnicity in a predominantly white industry.

All fit into well-defined stereotypes and engage in the kind of dialogue reserved more for an impassioned polemic than everyday conversation. Paragraph 3: Conclusion: It's a bold effort that initially attempts to tackle the issue of racial conflict in a refreshingly unstinting way for a mainstream film. Crash taps into the underlying tension of city where the haves and have nots might pull up next to each other in traffic, but are still a world apart. Haggis ventures beyond the more commonly explored white black issue to encompass a gamut of ethnic vantage points including Hipic, Korean and Iranian.

Crash Review essay

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