topfivefilms.com Tuesday 28th January 2020
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Crash (15)
Directed by: Paul Haggis
Reviewed by: Paul Fonz

Not to be confused with David Cronenberg's 1996 film of the same name, Crash is an ensemble piece that shows how several unrelated characters affect each other's lives in a series of Los Angeles based stories that are loosely related to car crashes. Paul Haggis makes his feature length directorial debut in fine style and his writing continues to be as rich as it was in Million Dollar Baby.

Chicks get all emotional after a car crash
Chicks get all emotional after a car crash

Haggis has been brave enough to cast a couple of Hollywood heavyweights against type in this film, in the form of Sandra Bullock and Brendan Fraser and the result clearly proves he knows how to get the most out of his actors. Matt Dillon, Don Cheadle, Ryan Phillippe, Thandie Newton and rapper Ludacris also play prominent roles in a film where the number of main characters reaches into double figures.

The serious issue at the heart of this film, though, is racism. Indeed, every character in this film shows themselves to be a racist at some point, regardless of whether they are black, white, Asian, Hispanic, rich, poor, male, female, lawyer, cop or criminal. However, while the material is quite serious stuff, Haggis manages not to make it heavy-going and, in fact, the finished product is very intriguing and enjoyable. It flows nicely from character to character and from story to story, and for a film that shows so many different tales, it is easy to follow the main thread. Too often a film in this style can take days of pondering or repeat viewings before the sequence of events and the full storyline become clear.

The way in which Haggis repeatedly builds tension and then releases it in this film is extremely impressive and creates an atmosphere in which the viewer constantly fears for the safety of the characters on screen. Indeed, between the car accidents, violent behaviour, criminal activity and racist attitudes, you might find you spend the entire duration of the film feeling uncomfortable, as you are constantly led to believe that someone is about to get whacked.

Nevertheless, despite the serious subject matter and constant anxiety, Crash manages to be very enjoyable and technically very accomplished. In that respect, I haven't seen a film put together this well since War of the Worlds. However, it is an adult film that requires some thought, so if you're after a couple of hours of mindless entertainment, then you should probably go for a different film.

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Length: 113 minutes
Certificate: 15
Official Site: http://www.crashfilm.com/
IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0375679/
Release Date: 12th August 2005

Top Five Rating: 80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0% (80.0%)
User Rating: 10.0%10.0%10.0%10.0%10.0%10.0%10.0%10.0%10.0%10.0% (10.0%)

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