After a couple of years of boring pedestrian Oscar shows, it seems the show is back on! I am not sure whether it was the energy of Jon Stewart or that the movies all had such heavy content that producers and actors all finally said, lets have fun. Thank goodness it's okay to have fun again. I feel the tone of the last few Oscars can be pinpointed back to the mass depression of post 9/11 and the Academy Awards are our thermostat.
I loved Crash. Was glad it got best picture Oscar. I saw it in the summer during a heatwave in Toronto, and went to any movie for the airconditioning. For the first 15 minutes I hated it, almost left because the people were so unlikable and who needs to see a movie about assholes. But the heatwave kept me in theatre for a few minutes longer. Next thing I knew I had to see the whole thing to see what happened to these people. I can see why anyone could judge this movie as a failure if one only looks at the dialogue and plot. I have heard many comments that the movie was unoriginal. The way this movie is structured is very simple and often implausible. I agree. Often it 's language and plot is basic. I get that but...I believe it's because something else is going on in the narrative. It belongs to a style of narrative and acting like seen in Pritzi's Honour, American Beauty, Wild At Heart.(movies who go for operatic melodrama camp=yet very good acting)
For me the race issues are not the fundamental theme in the movie. I took something different from the story. I think the style of acting and the dialogue and hate issues were one layer. It could have been any issue of intolerance, or conflict among people. (the conflict could have been "war" or "abortion" or "gender hate" any "hot topic") For me, the movie was excellent because it was revolving around revolutions. Cause and effect, karma and redemption. It didn't matter whether the writer did this, or the characters knew this or not, or noticed if they were connected or able to choose or reject redemption or karma. It happens. With or without us.
I was suspicious about this movie as a fan of Cronenbergs and wondered why anyone would name their movie after another movie. Don Cheadles early lines in the movie included a reference to Cronenbergs film. This reference helped me respect the screenwriters ambitions. Don Cheadle says :sometimes I think we crash into each other just to have human contact.(sorry parapharase but very close)
I liked the intense claustraphobic repetitive structure because it was about ignorance or consciousness in a city unexpectedly connected between characters and this story will be played out. People may recognize our connection, or may not but we will run into each other over and over. Our themes/patterns/choices/results/decisions/actions will run into each other.
I think it is a mistake to focus on the dialogue of the conflicts in the movie(the conflict could have been...the dialogue is for us to hook onto emotionally but the real theme of Crash is cause and effect. Some characters are aware of their interconnectness and some aren't. It doesn't change the fact that what we do and don't do is all connected.
It is said that a scientist can not ever observe their experiment purely because their observing affects the outcomes. Crash lets us in on a magic that only by observing the experiment can you see you are in it and you have a choice to react to the experiment. Recognizing patterns is connected to self awareness and to choice.