Reviewed by: Sheri McMurray
|Featuring:||Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon, Brendan Fraser, Terrence Howard, Thandie Newton, more »|
|Producer:||Cathy Schulman, Don Cheadle, Bob Yari|
|Distributor:||Lions Gate Films|
“You think you know who you are. You have no idea.”
Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “A Brentwood housewife and her DA husband. A Persian storeowner. Two police detectives, who are also lovers. A black television director and his wife. A Mexican locksmith. Two car-jackers. A rookie cop. A middle-aged Korean couple. They all live in Los Angeles. And, in the next 36 hours, they will all collide.”
We all have lives that no one sees but God. When we are alone with our inner most thoughts, that’s when God is there. Most people do not take into consideration that other human beings have feelings of loss, love, sorrow, family, loneliness or any basic emotion. In our fast-paced, “me” oriented lives, all we see are the faces, the mode of dress, mannerisms of culture and speech that give us an instant rundown of every person we come into contact with. God help us take the time to see past the tatoos, makeup, dress and talk to connect with the heart that beats within the skin of the man next door, down the street or residing in another country. At work, on the freeway, in the grocery store are human bodies that have emotions and hearts just like us, no matter what the outside looks like or what end of the globe that human body is from.
“Crash” is, if I might use a pun, the film equivalent of a “crash course” in the horrible results of racism and more. With vibrant characters who are mirrors of countless human beings whose assumptions prevent them from seeing the actual person standing before them. It concludes in the consequences we endure when we never fully consider those human beings that we inhabit this world with.
“Crash” pulls the audience in and makes us examine how we view all walks of life. It is a multi-dimensional look at the outcome of compromising our basic beliefs, and how we ultimately live with the outcome. It asks “who deserves the benefit of the doubt…?” How far will a person go to compromise when backed into a real life corner?
This film took me through just one day of the lives of several different people on the financial and cultural ladder in L.A. At first, I had a time figuring out how I would remember all these characters and keep the storyline straight. It wasn’t long, however, that I began to identify, not with each individual character, but with the many problems they faced and had to deal with. These same biases and racial assumptions are occurring everywhere on planet Earth at this very moment, as God looks on with a heavy heart.
This is a brief rundown of the fast-paced drama viewers are caught up in:
A cop (a competent and inspired performance by Matt Dillon) thinks a light-skinned black woman (Thandie Newton) is white. When a white producer tells her husband, a black TV director (Terrence Dashon Howard), that a black character “doesn’t sound black enough,” it never occurs to him that the director doesn’t “sound black,” either. For that matter, neither do two young black guys (Larenz Tate and Ludacris), who dress and act like college students, but are in fact car thieves.
An Iranian (Shaun Toub) is thought to be an Arab, although Iranians are Persian. Both the Iranian and the white wife of the district attorney (Sandra Bullock) believe a Mexican-American locksmith (Michael Peña) is a gang member and a crook, but in fact he is a loving and devoted family man. The district attorney (Brendan Fraser) is so caught up in his re-election image, he cares not about any ethnic rudeness he pours out on those around him.
A black cop (Don Cheadle from “Hotel Rwanda”, again doing another fine portrayal) is having an affair with his Latina partner (Jennifer Esposito), but never cares to get it straight exactly which country she’s from.
Director Paul Haggis who did the screenplay for the Academy Award winning “Million Dollar Baby”, presumes that most people feel prejudice and resentment against members of other ethnic groups, and observes the consequences of those feelings. Normally, I would think this presumption not his place to tell us what to think or do about it, but the film takes on the task with such realism and intuitiveness that I came away very impressed. If all audience members could come away with the same inspiration to love his fellow man, or at least give him a break next time he decides to assume he’s a lesser being than himself, Haggis has done his job more than well.
“Crash” is rated R, which is more than appropriate for many adult situations and fluent foul language. Do we adults really use this language as an every day part of our vocabulary? I am getting so tired of enduring a movie, especially one of such high quality as “Crash,” with my head swimming from the harsh language. Besides a** 2 times, da** just once, as well as he**, God’s name was taken in vain at least 3 times and the f-word had no bounds; my last count was well over 15! There was a very crass sex scene involving the characters played by Don Cheadle and Jennifer Esposito, which was meant to represent how lovers are not necessarily tender or even caring, but made me feel uncomfortable even though I understood why it was included within the story line. My recommendation is that this film, although putting forth ideas we all must come to terms with, may not be for any Christian that cannot see past the situations these characters inhabit. “Crash” requires a Christian with a strong stomach for situations of premarital sex, nudity, murder, crude language and extremely realistic depictions of life on the streets.
Through all the muck we are drug through experiencing “Crash,” it is a good example of how not to treat our fellow man, and it even gives a few examples of how to right wrongs, but it is a pity that God was never considered in the end. How sad that a movie with so much power could not take it to the next and final level of love!
Reading Jeremiah 38:1-13 looks into the heart and mind of an unknown man named Ebed-Melech, and his courage to appeal to the King for the life of Jeremiah. Through the strength that God gave him, this eunuch’s words revealed the king’s guilty conscience so that he gave Ebed-Melech permission to rescue Jeremiah. Ebed-Melech’s actions didn’t demonstrate some form of good will from within to protect and help Jeremiah, but demonstrated his unswerving trust in God. Later in chapter 39:15-18, Jeremiah was able to return the favor. God instructed His prophet to notify this simple yet courageous man that God would protect his life during the fall of the city of Jerusalem.
God places the responsibility of self-examination upon our shoulders. The Greek word for examine is actually a commercial term meaning to “weight the worth.” It’s hard to speak up for what is right in our modern, rushed society. We tend to be so involved in our selves that we put others in a “box” and judge them by what they look like and not for who they truly are. Let us have the courage of Ebed-Melech to speak out for, help, encourage, and take action for those we unvaryingly consider less than we are. When God is in control He empowers us to be bold against the injustices of this world.
We are all tied together by a delicate yet unbreakable thread. Lives crash into each other on a daily basis, but through it all there is hope in God to see us through to—and take a compassionate part—in one another’s best interests… and that is not as unlikely as snow in California. As the closing song gently encourages: “Shed your pride and climb to Heaven.”
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/nudity: Moderate
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.