3 out of 10


A Good Talking To By Our Betters

I used to know this guy called "Ranald". He never had a single problem with job interviews, because whenever he was asked, "What are your greatest weaknesses?", he knew exactly what to say. Likewise, though, he was always useless as an employee, because the problems he had identified were just symptomatic candy-floss ones like lateness, not his core issues of honesty, trustworthyness etc.. "Crash" suffers exactly the same central problem, it handles the obvious issues of racism that everyone agrees on and not the actual. Consider, for instance, check out almost any movie these days and the villain is almost universally the smooth Englishman, from "Gone In 60 Seconds" to "Four Brothers". Remind me, was it the German Kaiser, Hitler and Hirohito that fought America in two world wars or the English? As a pat on the back by Hollywood for having been at the side of the USA, they honour us Brits by portraying us as the bad guys. And why?...because we don't complain. Try it with any other nationality, claiming all Arabs are terrorists and just watch the protests and riots spread across America. Besides, as everyone now knows in Tinseltown, discriminating against the Brits isn't racist...the English really are all stupid, scheming terrorists.

"Crash" has a clever almost "whodunnit" plot springing from a simple fender-bender that connects to the discovery of a dead body in a ditch. Who is it and why was he shot? Showing the destructive instinctive reactions, even by the well-meaning, it creates a web, highly reminiscent of "Magnolia", between the characters and runs nearly as slow and as boringly with director and writer Paul Haggis's script..

Exported to show the world America's choice dirty linen, it features a whole host of top brass stars trying to lecture us like nanny on the problems our own countries are supposed to have if we want to live in a paradise like race-torn America. There's the Iranian shopkeeper whose family are angry and disgusted by a break-in, not because of the loss, but by the graffitti terming them as "Arabs"; Don Cheadle plays Graham who is embarrassed at admtting that he is sleeping with a Hispanic; Matt Dillon is cop Ryan who, unable to get his dyinig father medical help due to the traditional obstructiveness of American business people, takes to assaulting blacks sexually; Brendan Fraser, himself no stranger to poking fun at Canadians, is the politician, worried about the embarrassment of having his car stolen by two blacks and of course his bitch of a wife Jean, typecast with Sandra Bullock who is utterly contemptuous of all others including her Hispanic housekeeper and so the list rolls on and on. They all scramble to queue up to give their talent for peanuts to show their liberal credentials as if it was some form of political draft. Even Marina Sirtis from Star Trek is in there. For a movie of 50 characters to be done on a microscopic budget of less than $7million, is a remarkable success for Mr.Haggis from Ontario where pennypinching comes naturally...a smart move to create a film that no-one can afford to refuse to appear in, to show in their cinema or to vote for at the Oscars. It's just a shame, neither Haggis thought about the one group who are always ruthlessly exploited without a word of representation...the ticket-buying public.


Film Critic: Robert L Thompsett