“It’s the sense of touch. In any real city you walk, you brush past people; people bump into you. In LA, nobody touches you. We’re always behind this metal and glass. I think we miss that touch so much, that we crash into each other just so that we can feel something.” Director of the Honors Program Dr. Bradley Woodworth told the audience to keep this quote in mind while watching Crash, a 2004 drama film co-written, produced, and directed by Paul Haggis. The Honor Student Council presented the movie in Dodds on Monday, November 22.
Crash is about modern-day racial and social tensions, using a series of interwoven stories that reinforce the central theme, while showing its causes and effects from multiple racial and socio-economical points of views. Crash boasts a large cast, with a mix of big names, such as Brendan Fraser, Sandra Bullock, and Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges. There are also less known, but still very talented actors, such as Ryan Phillippe (I Know What You Did Last Summer and Macgruber), Thandie Newton (Mission: Impossible II, 2012 and For Colored Girls), and Shaun Toub (The Kite Runner).
The film opens with a car crash chronologically set near the end of the movie. Police detectives Graham Waters (Don Cheadle, who is responsible for the above quote) and Ria (Jennifer Esposito) crash into another car near a recent crime scene. As the Hispanic Ria and the Asian driver of the other car exchange heated and racially charged insults, Waters walks into the crime scene and stumbles upon something that horrifies him.
The previous day, Persian immigrant Farhad (Shaun Tobb) and his daughter Dorri (Bahar Soomekh) attempt to purchase a gun to protect their shop and home from frequent thefts and break-ins. Meanwhile, District Attorney Rick Cabot (Brendan Fraser) and his wife Jean Cabot (Sandra Bullock) are carjacked by Anthony (Chris Bridges) and Peter (Larenz Tate), what they believe to be gang-violence. This leads Jean to hire Hispanic locksmith Daniel (Michael Pena) to change all the locks in her house. LAPD Officers John Ryan (Matt Dillon) and Tom Hansen (Ryan Phillippe) set off to find the carjackers, but Ryan decides to target black producer Cameron Thayer (Terrence Howard) and his wife, Christine Thayer (Thandie Newton) instead. Over a period of less than two days, every single one of these lives will crash into each other.
Crash also boasts a great soundtrack, including classical orchestra piece “Adagio for Strings” by Samuel Barber and “In the Deep” by Bird York. The cast lent superb performances to a film that will make the audience both laugh and cry while informing them of the ongoing issue of race in America. Thank you to the Honor Student Council for selecting it.