Thursday, September 15, 2005

Best (early) movie of the year

I finally got around to seeing Crash last night. My brother bought it and after So You Think You Can Dance, we watched Paul Haggis's masterpiece film about a crazy night in Los Angeles. The film deals with relationships between black and white and latino and asian, between man and woman, between mother and son, between employer and employee, and between protector and protected.

What a powerful film.

Haggis, who was responsible for penning last year's Best Picture winner, Million Dollar Baby, writes and directs this incredible movie which features one of the largest ensemble casts in recent history. Not only does he direct them with skill, he manages to get lifetime best performances out of actors and actresses who I wasn't sure had much skill.

Don Cheadle (who is ALWAYS brilliant) provides a somewhat common thread through the movie as an LAPD detective. His quote at the beginning of the movie provides a strong statement and serves as the basis for the rest of the feature:
"It's the sense of touch. In any real city, you walk, you know? 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 we can feel something."
The supporting cast is terrific and Terence Howard, who finally got a starring shot in this summer's Hustle and Flow is powerful in his role as a television producer who struggles with his own rights and self-image as an African-American man. Sandra Bullock puts out her best performance of a lifetime (WAY better than her turn in 28 Days) and Ryan Phillippe and Matt Dillon are terrific as two sides to the Good Cop - Bad Cop.

What impressed me most was that with the multiple story lines that were going on during this movie, I never once got confused with what was going on. Haggis truly is a great screenwriter.

This movie really reminded me a lot of another movie last year that came out extremely early last year and was my clear choice for movie of the year last year, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. My fear is that because of its early release, Crash may suffer some of the same fate come Oscar time (Eternal Sunshine was largely ignored, despite being a brilliant, original, incredibly-acted film). And the question remains, who would you nominate. Almost all of the actors represent supporting roles (Cheadle really being the only one who could be justified as a lead actor), but I think that almost all of them should be nominated.

Truthfully, if Crash isn't nominated come Oscar time in some way or another, I'll be really surprised. I just hope that it doesn't get punished for being released early in May.

My IMDb rating: 9 out of 10.

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