Friday, September 09, 2005



Swank Home

Kirk’s Home

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Paul Haggis, the writer of Million Dollar Baby, attempts one of the most ambitious directorial debuts in recent memory with the critically acclaimed Crash. I had thought it only looked OK from the trailer, but I thought that about 21 Grams (to which this is not entirely dissimilar) and that turned out to be one of the best films of 2004! The weight of recommendations had become too much, and so I went along this morning to see what all the fuss is about. One thing is certain - it is one hell of a movie... but it will cause differences of opinion. In scope and style it seems to owe a lot to both Magnolia and Traffic - the former for its fascination with co-incidence and the holistic effect of human action and interaction, and the latter for its boldness in tackling a potentially incendiary subject with the aid of an ensemble cast and grainy film-stock. As a fan of both films I was always going to like this, although there are problems: the situations and dialogue are at times stretched beyond the reasonable limits of believability, and, considering the incredibly difficult task of marrying so many different threads into a coherent whole, it is oddly paced and edited in snatches. However, for a first time director it is an awesome achievement - the cast are very strong, notably the ever reliable Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon, in a perfectly cast role, Sandra Bullock (although it is little more than a cameo) and Ryan Phillippe, as Dillon's conflicted partner; the mood is sustained with nail-biting tension, culminating in two or three unforgettable moments as the characters "crash" together in different, but always life-changing ways; and, above all, there is a soul underneath it that propels the whole into the near-reaches of an absolute classic. Racism is a difficult subject - there are many arguments and not too many solutions, but here almost all of the key issues are dealt with, leaving you with questions, realizations and revelations aplenty without ever being trite or trying to be definitive - so much so that I feel like I need to see it again immediately! And it would be a pleasure: its ultimate success is not that it is a great piece of art or a great political statement, but that it is a great, watchable, movie with an indispensable human message. If this isn't at least nominated for a whole bunch of Oscars then I'll eat my shoes!! If you haven't already done so - See It... 9/10

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