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Crash & burn
A film that leaves plenty of bold questions about race


June 6, 2005

Thanks to the confrontational director, Paul Haggis, Americans can finally see a movie that will make them sit up on their chairs. And don't be slightly surprised if you find yourself flinching more than a few times.

Without apology, Crash depicts tragic race relations that exist among various ethnic groups in America. Making the film even more interesting is Haggis' inclusion of the desperate Caucasian suburbanite and its counterpart, the white blue collar worker. In all its boldness, the film repeatedly brings its racist characters to their knees. So they are crashing into one another but it seems they are burning more often than they expect.

The movie is essentially a compilation of intertwining events that bring together Americans from various backgrounds in a span of a day and a half. And who are these Americans -- among them, a Persian store owner, a middle aged Korean couple, corrupt policemen, and others who through the course of the film display rage against one another, showing their racist, selfish inner-selves.

But in the end the audience cannot really hate these individuals since they all seem to be struggling with the same human vulnerabilities.

In conclusion, we all have shortcomings so how can we go about overcoming them? Haggis doesn't answer the question -- but solely shows us the problems, the issues at their core and elegantly resurfaces the timeless question, "Is America really a melting pot?" or are we just pretending to be something that we have yet to achieve.

When it comes to the bold questions -- the movie leaves you with plenty. No film in the past decade has so intelligently tied in so many different races together -- for the Persian cast, a riveting, truthful performance from all involved, and a sobering reminder of the struggles Persian-Americans who are not readily blessed with wealth must endure in order to live in America.

Whether you are White, Black, Persian, or Korean, you will equally benefit from this movie. Haggis sends a grave message to his audience, he asks you to question, with a critical mind, and a critical eye, " What is America?"

For letters section
To Faye Farhang

Faye Farhang



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