Jebus, it’s been a a while since I last wrote… which is probably good. It’s not as if there aren’t enough blogs filled with the incessant, ceaseless rantings of the uninteresting. Like me!
Anyway, last night after our 23km walk (by the way, the Edmonton River valley going east from the Kinsmen is a wicked hard walk), we decided to watch the movie ‘Crash’. Now, there are a few movies which I’d put at the very top of my list of all time:
- Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love The Bomb
- Apocalypse Now
- Clockwork Orange
- The Matrix (yeah yeah, piss off)
‘Crash’ may very well end up somewhere on the list.
On the surface, the movie is an incredibly intelligent and insightful look at racism in the 21st century. It’s organized as a series of small narratives about a wide variety of characters, from a poor Persian store owner to a rich black television producer, with the various stories intertwined to one degree or another. Unfortunately, with a narrative structure like this, I’ve seen previous movies fail because they cannot fully engage the audience (since they only see the characters for small portions of time), or because the audience has difficulty following the various narratives. This movie, however, succeeds on both points, creating a range of characters that are interesting and memorable, with whom the audience can truly connect.
Now, as I mentioned, racism is clearly the primary subject matter of this film, and it deals with it in an incredible variety of forms. But the movie goes further than that: the characters in this movie, while demonstrating clear racism, aren’t simple caricatures. The film makes an effort to examine the underlying reasons behind the various prejudices held by the characters. Moreover, these characters are allowed to change and develop. Particularly interesting is the pairing of racist and non-racist, such that by the end of the movie, the racist character is allowed a moment of redemption, while the non-racist character begins to descend into predjudice.
But, I think the movie also has a deeper message. In a film like this, it would be all too easy to depict the racist characters as somehow getting their ‘just deserts’, while the non-racists are somehow rewarded for their good behaviour. Not so in this movie. The world is depicted as a place of damnation and redemption, and the people, while imperfect, are equally capable of hate and love. Thus, despite the subject matter, this is probably one of the most positive movies about the modern world I have seen in a very long time, with one clear message: that, for all of us, there is hope.
As if this weren’t all enough, the writing in this film is fantastic, and the acting is absolutely superb. The cinematography is also excellent, beautifully capturing the various urban environments that occur in the film.
So… yeah, if you haven’t seen this movie, I implore you to check it out. You won’t regret it.