(I finally saw this this weekend. Showtime free preview weekend. I'm an HBO guy
Andre Jurieu wrote:
By far the best scene occurs between a Latino locksmith father and his daughter when he arrives home to discover her hiding under her bed. Within this single scene, which could have become ultra-cheesy, Haggis is able to subtly touch on issues dealing with race in an effective manner, without the need to become heavy-handed. Instead of having his characters spout off racist dialogue and artificially discuss racial issues, the father and daughter simply talk about moving away from a dangerous community to a much safer community, and we witness the sacrifice the father has had to make afterwards when he must answer a late-night service call. Sadly this subtle, effective, delicate scene is later exploited in the most melodramatic fashion.
Yes, on both counts. That was a wonderful scene, full of the kind of verbal subtlety that eluded him for most of the rest of the script. (I also rather liked the last word of Howard's character to the kid played by Ludacriss. "You shame me. You shame yourself." Terrence sold that with his personal greatness.)
Kasdan's Grand Canyon
has been mentioned (I thought of that, too, except that Kasdan can usually make you feel that his weltanschuung is plausible while you're watching the film itself, even if you recongize at the same time that he's doing that) and so have Short Cuts
and it's clubfooted offspring Magnolia
(and that was
supposed to be snow, it's mentioned as a possibility in the first scene of the film when Cheadle's character finds his brother's body at the crime scene.)
All of those comparisons are valid, as is Nashville
(mostly not in Crash
's favor), but I think the film that Crash
truly wants to be, and fails in it's attempt, is John Sayles' masterpiece rumination on urban racial politics, time, loss and regret, City of Hope
. You will not find the same sort of mind bogglingly expository dialogue, sudden unrealistic translations from polite conversation to bitter racial invective and general hamhandedness in John's script.
has a good cast (Howard is a guy I've had my eye on for a while, I love Larenz Tate in everything I've ever seen him in and Thandie Newton could win, and actually deserve, an Oscar if given the right role), but some of these other people, Dillon and Phillippe in particular, were pretty dreadful. And I think we've all seen Fictner do better work than he did here.
Not as awful as Chicago
, but not Best Picture material, either.