STUDIO: Lion’s Gate
MSRP: $26.95
RUNNING TIME: 113 Minutes

  • Director’s Cut with 4 additional minutes of footage extending several scenes
  • DVD Introduction by Director Paul Haggis
  • Trailers
  • Deleted Scenes with Director Commentary
  • "Behind the Metal and Glass" Making of Crash
  • On Paul Haggis – Featurette
  • "LA – The Other Main Character" Featurette
  • Unspoken Featurette
  • Bird York "In the Deep" Music Video
  • Music Montages
  • Script-to-Screen Comparisons
  • Storyboard-to-Screen Comparisons

You think I’m going to survive MacReady and double anal Connelly and be worried about your silly threats about having Netsol disconnect

The Pitch

This just in! Racism is BAD.

The Humans

Matt Dillon. Don Cheadle. Jennifer Esposito. Terrence Howard. Ludacris. Larenz Tate. Tony Danza. Thandie Newton. William Fichtner. Sandra Bullock. Brendan Frasier. Michael Pena. Ryan Phillipe. Keith David.

Ben Grimm does his best Matt Dillon impression.

The Nutshell

Lives crash together in Los Angeles, a melting pot ignited.

"I don’t care about your temper. I still love you Earth X James Russo."

This most infuriating thing about Crash is how great its ensemble is and how terrific they work together despite some of the most overheated situations and dialogue ever to grace an Oscar nominated film, let alone a winner. Paul Haggis has created a heightened bit of intertwined rage, covering the gamut across all the major ethnic food groups in a way that has been compared to Magnolia but more reminds me of a ninth grader’s spiritual awakening when he hears his Uncle from Alabama call someone a "nigger" and is ashamed for the first time.

I’m exaggerating but I expected much more subtletly and grace from this film. Haggis isn’t a bad writer by any stretch but for a film intended to be symbolic or a microcosm to work it either needs to be really aggressively artistic or extremely deft in its storytelling voice. This is neither and what we instead are treated to is less of a big life-altering story and more of a collection of interesting two-dimensional characters walking around in a fake world.

Don Cheadle humps Jennifer Esposito. Revealed! The origin of Giancarlo Esposito.

It’s a shame it’s called Crash, because White Guilt: The Movie isn’t already claimed by David Cronenberg and it’s more applicable. The stronger storylines in the film involve Terrence Howard, Matt Dillon, and Michael Pena as a television producer, cop, and locksmith respectively. As embodied by the characters and the rather emotionally hard-hitting moments they have to deal with, these few segments of the film override the precious setup and work. Ryan Phillipe also has some nice stuff to do, primarily his characters’ interaction with Larenz Tate and Howard. Sadly, there’s an awful lot of time spent with Don Cheadle’s troubled cop and his family, the horrible moments starring Brendan Fraser and Sandra Bullock, and threadbare strings featuring the Middle Eastern and Asian members of the cultural potpourri. There’s a really good television series here, with all of these plots fleshed out and not tied together with a limp racism narrative backdrop but as a film it just feels earnest and preachy without a real killer punch to make the whole outweigh the parts.

In its defense, it does have an optimistic streak going through it that’s uncommon in films of this type. Typically it pays to go dark and make the endeavor a depressing one but Crash veers [see that’s car humor] into less murky territory from time to time and while not all of the stars wind up in great shape at the end, many actually have an arc that doesn’t involve an overdose, murder, or sexual abuse as is the norm in these interwoven twisty dramas. The solid performances and the few moments that rise above the parboiled idea make this a film worth seeing, and the sometimes strong resolutions (the image of Michael Pena from the poster is quite an affecting scene) make it above average as a drama.

It just ain’t great by any stretch. It’s good. It’s pretty good.

"Milla Jovovich as a futuristic vampire, where do I sign?"

There have been times I’ve had to apologize for giving the Haggis scripted Million Dollar Baby my top prize a couple of years ago but I can’t see anything here that makes it worth the buzz and accolades. It’s to me an art film for Middle America. A very safe and paint-by-numbers art film that digs superficial emotional footholds and nothing more. It’s light, especially for anyone who’s seen this concept done a lot better, like in John Sayles’ City of Hope for instance. Heck, there have been more subtle episodes of network cop shows on the subject. This is a very palatable pill for a wide audience, something to make them feel like they soaked in the fine arts and as a result it became a water cooler sensation and eventual statue magnet. That’s fine and all, I’m a sucker for films that aren’t as smart as they think they are as much as the next guy.

But this double dipped little director’s cut doesn’t offer much in its new four minutes to make the film anything more than a really nice hunk of very talented people telling us nothing we don’t already know.

"So you’re saying all I need to get this part is to put some Haggis in my mouth?"

The Package

This DVD is loaded. I’m talking Dean Martin loaded, not some light headed "special edition" buzz but shit in the pants, forget your name loaded. A lot of the stuff here is ego pumping stuff catering towards the "brilliant" script and majesty of working with Paul Haggis (who’s Million Dollar Baby is really solid and a considerably better Best Picture than this).

The obvious question is: How much Crash do we need?

If you’re interested in this kind of stuff it’s a virtual treasure trove. If you’re not, it’s just extra plastic being used that could have been better used making a bra firmer so I have something to look at while I’m at the coffee shop.

6.5 out of 10