Moore Than This

"Here we are living in paradise, living in luxury..."

Monday, March 06, 2006

Crash wins Best Film Oscar

Congratulations, Paul Haggis and co. I saw Crash's UK premiere at the Cambridge Film Festival last summer, and thought it was an amazing film. Here are my impressions of the film, that I wrote on a messageboard soon after seeing it.

Crash defied my expectations - in a good way. I had expected it to be worthy and oh-so-sensitive. How wrong I was. From the eerily abstract opening sequence, set to Don Cheadle's soliloquy about the isolation of living in L.A., the film gripped and didn't let go. I find a lot of films set in L.A. to be generally dull and self-regarding (apart from anything by Michael Mann), but this harnessed the ensemble cast formula of Altman's Short Cuts and lashed it to a powerhouse plot that explored the nature of prejudice, hatred and love without becoming at all politically correct.

There are no easy answers in this film. The audience is simply left to make up their own minds from the actions and words of the characters. The fact that a low-key domestic scene between a husband and wife can be as gripping as the astounding car-crash rescue sequence halfway through the film should give you an indication of the quality of both the writing, acting and direction. Crash signifies the arrival of a major new talent on the US indie scene.
I wrote this before I knew Haggis wrote Million Dollar Baby, but it still rings true for his debut directorial role. Apart from the slightly annoying soundtrack (the use of faux-ethnic choirs to indicate Something Very Sad has happened is neither subtle nor moving), there isn't a single criticism I'd make against the film. I can't wait to see what Haggis will come up with next.



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