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"It's the sense of touch. In any real city, you walk, you know? You brush past people, people bump into you. In L.A., 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."—Det. Graham Waters
If you're looking for the J.G. Ballard novel which inspired a completely different film, go here.
If not, read on.
A film that debuted in the 2004 Toronto International Film Festival, Crash saw general release the next year. This ensemble piece, directed by Paul Haggis, addresses racism affecting the lives of several Los Angelenos as they intersect over several days' time. The incident that starts it all off is the carjacking of a white couple, the Cabots, by two black carjackers, Anthony and Peter.
This film features examples of:
- Adopt the Dog: Anthony releasing the vanload of illegal immigrants rather than selling them.
- Asian Drivers: Towards the end of the film, causing said crash and with a heavy accent to boot. For a movie about racial stereotypes, this is pretty ironic, no?
- Also occurs at the beginning of the film, and played with in Ria's racial insults.
- Asian Store Owner: Farhad.
- Technically he's Iranian, not South Asian.
- Biting the Hand Humour: Antony's rant about why modern Hip Hop music sucks. Anthony is played by Ludacris, a hip-hop artist.
- Chekhov's Gun: Plenty.
- Death by Racism: Averted and subverted.
- Embarrassing Cover Up: After the incident with the Thayers, Tom asks for reassignment to a single car due to his partner John's stark racism. However, his African American superior wants him to go on record about this, while Tom doesn't want to raise a stink about it. So, gets his reassignment on the condition he agrees to accept a cover story about being afflicted by uncontrollable flatulence.
- Heroic Fire Rescue: How Officer John Ryan gets his Character Development into a Noble Bigot with a Badge.
- Humans Are Flawed
- Hyperlink Story
- Hypocritical Humor: Done rather darkly; most memorably, the carjacking that sets everything off is perpetrated after Anthony rants about why white Los Angelenos, the LAPD especially, would think the worst of them even if they aren't intimidating and vastly outnumbered by white people in the area with a danger of police harassment, so they should be scared instead.
Anthony: "So why aren't we scared?"
Peter: "Maybe 'cause we got guns?"
Anthony: "You could be right." (They rush off to carjack a rich white couple).
- Anthony is a master at this. Just prior to the carjacking, he and Peter are leaving a restaurant and Anthony is complaining about the service, arguing that the waitress didn't serve them well because of the stereotype that blacks are bad tippers. When Peter asks Anthony how much of a tip he left, Anthony incredulously asks "You expect me to pay for that kind of service?"
- Incoming Ham: Quite a bit, though Mrs Cabot's fuming racist tirade and Terrence Howard going Tupac on a cop who's stopped him stand out.
- Loads and Loads of Characters
- Noble Bigot with a Badge: Officer John Ryan.
- Not So Different: Hey, guess what, we have the same figurine. That's funny. Oh crap you just shot me.
- One Degree of Separation
- One-Woman Wail: She pretty much sings through the entire second half of the movie.
- Oscar Bait
- Patron Saint: A miniature statue of St. Christopher.
- Recycled: the Series: The TV show Crash, starring the late Dennis Hopper as a misanthropic Hollywood producer whose life intersects with characters from all walks of life in LA. (See Series page).
- Spiritual Successor: To the 1991 film Grand Canyon, starring Steve Martin as a misanthropic Hollywood producer (playing against type) whose life intersects with characters from all walks of life in LA, which popularized the notion that LA was a Wretched Hive of Class Tension. A year before the Rodney King riots. If not, in fact, The Remake of Grand Canyon.
- Taking the Bullet: After Farhad's store is sacked, he decides to confront his suspected crook, Daniel. Daniel's daughter decides to save him with her invisible cloak. Nobody dies because the bullets were blanks. Farhad thinks it's a miracle, and that the little girl is his angel. In fact his daughter (wisely) bought them instead as she was afraid someone would be hurt.
- The Man Is Keeping Us Down