THE BAD: I'm a visible minority (non-white) and I have experienced some form of racism in my life. BUT despite my life experiences and the movie's subject matter, I would definitely NOT say that this movie is the best of the year, in fact, it's FAR from it. I have problems with this movie both from a moviegoer's perspective and from a visible minority's perspective. Some of my problems with this movie are:
(1) Poor character development (or none at all). Just because we saw extremes in a character, for example, Matt Dillon being a racist cop and being a good caregiver to his ailing father, that does not mean in any way that the character is well-developed. Yes, I admit that in a big cast ensemble like in this movie, it is quite difficult for every character to be well-developed, BUT that does not mean that at none of the characters should be like that.
(2) The dialogue seems really contrived to the point that I'm really surprised this movie won for Best Original Screenplay. They should show this movie in a screenplay writing class NOT because it's good but to show students and future screenplay writers what NOT to do. I just felt like I've been hit by the head over and over again how bad racism is. I get it.
(3) The plot seems so coincidental, it is laughable. What are the chances of a black car robber running over an Asian guy who also happens to be a human trafficker while entering his van, and that same black car robber ended up carjacking that Asian guy's van several hours later after he brought him the hospital, only to find out that the several Asians being trafficked inside the van just to show you that the black car robber has a good side after all? Or, what about that scene where a prejudiced upper-class white woman who fell down the stairs and all her prejudice and hatred vanished into thin air? If it was THAT simple, why don't we throw every racist in America down the stairs so they will have a change of heart?
(4) I think my biggest misgivings about this movie is the unrealistic view of racism. As someone who has experienced racism in my life, the realistic view of racism is that it is hidden rather than in your face. I've been refused to enter a supermarket because I'm not white. Did the store owner said because I was not white? No, he said the store was closing even though there were a lot of people shopping inside. Did he yell racial slurs? No. Racism in America is more hidden. Some cab drivers probably won't stop to pick you up because you're non-white but that does not mean that they will try to run you over or get out and say racial slurs. If a Chinese woman rear-ended me, I won't be saying "blake! blake! Learn some English bitch!". On the other hand, if I was a Chinese woman and I accidentally rear-ended a Mexican woman, I won't say "Mexicans are bad drivers" in front of her face. That's not how things work. Instead, I would give out my insurance info, say sorry, and go home and tell my fellow Chinese friends and family that Mexicans are poor drivers and make fun of them behind their backs. That is the real racism. It's hidden and not in your face.
Anyway, Crash is not original unlike what some people may say. The interlocking and interweaving story lines, plots, and characters have been done before. "Magnolia" is a movie that does this much better than Crash did and yet, it was never nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. It had a stellar cast -- Julianne Moore, William H. Macy, Phillip Seymour Hoffman (who won best Actor recently), Tom Cruise, etc. It really boggles my mind how Crash was even nominated for Best Picture.
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