Vantage point

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Crash Review

Crash, one of the nominees for tomorrow's best picture Oscar, was quite an enjoyable experience. Some commentators have criticised it for portraying an exaggeratedly negative version of LA. Maybe they're right. But during the movie, I wasn't sitting and passing judgement on the city of Los Angeles. I was just watching the inter-woven stories unfold.

A movie shot using what I call the "shuffled cards" technique rather than a linear chronological one is old hat nowadays. As is the concept of multiple storylines which have small but intense intersection sets. And also the concept of witty dialogues which keep you smiling as the movie chugs along.

Crash impresses because two of those stories are very well conceptualised and executed. I love it when a scene's 'time cone', to mis-use a term I learnt from Hawking, includes some small seemingly insignificant happenings from earlier in the movie.

The story of the Iranian store owner and the Hispanic locksmith was the best by far.

The thread about two cops played by Matt Dillon and Ryan Phillippe (whose beefier twin brother brought up across the Atlantic is currently leading the English test team...but I digress) is also a good one, overflowing with irony. It also manages to remind us that the issue of racism isn't as black and white as we make it out to be.

The remaining stories, for me, were providing apt background support for those two. They are definitely not intended to be so and are probably meant to be as significant. Especially the story revolving around Don Cheadle, one of the producers. But somehow I wasn't as touched by them.

By now everyone must have read about the Ebert-Foundas debate regarding this movie. I will side with Ebert and recommend it to one and all. Good fun.

Oh yes, Sandra Bullock and Brendan Fraser have been under-used. Another good point in favour of the movie. :-P