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Old 15th Dec 2006, 12:26   #21
Flutty
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Default Re: Crash

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Originally Posted by Digger View Post
I didn't see it coming at all, but then, I am an individual who is very easily and happily swept up in the escapism of cinema, it has to be pretty bloody obvious for me to sit there and think, duh, well that's a twist coming later on. Lucky me I say.

I am with Digger on this one. I found the film excellent for its tension, despite some irritation with my audience.

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way Home

On Sunday I went to see a very very good movie, Crash.

It will not appeal to everyone's taste. If you like Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction" and "Reservoir Dogs", you should like it. The main theme to this film is racism, crime and social isolation. The movie had me on the edge of my seat and holding my breath during some of the intense scenes.

And this despite the French speaking couple next to me, who just chattered away and could not work out some of the non-verbal based plot twists - "est ce la mère?" - and a chap who should have died from coughing if there was any natural justice in the venom of my thought crimes. Bleedin' cinema audiences.

But the weird thing was that as I walked home I was involved in an incident that had two cops reaching for their guns and a chap getting out of his car with his hands raised. Very close to a scene from the film. I was actually between one of the cops and the car at one point, so I decided to stop to let the him run past me to the car. I was part of the incident. I could see the headlines: Verbally Challenged Brit shot by Swiss Police.

And all through the incident I realised I was watching reality like a scene from a film. I was aware of how funny the cop was who tried to use his torch to shine into the car and had forgotten to take the red traffic shade of the end of it, but rather than just flick the shade off with one hand and keep his gun hand free he used both hands to neatly pocket the shade. And the cop behind me delayed his run so that he could lock the police-car door.

It was all a bit Keystone Cops for a while upto the point both cops surrounded the car with their hands ready on their guns. Armed police are always a bit of shock to a Brit.

Let's hope the local cops are better trained in the use of their firearms, than in other aspects of their training.
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Old 15th Dec 2006, 14:53   #22
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Default Re: Crash

I think that's worth a story on Unmadeup.com
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Old 15th Dec 2006, 14:59   #23
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Default Re: Crash

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I think that's worth a story on Unmadeup.com

You know I've been thinking about writing for unMade Up... but had no inspiration. But when I read the blog it all came back to me. I had forgotten about that incident.

I suppose that is what blogs are good for.
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Old 12th Jan 2007, 16:00   #24
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Default Re: Crash

I watched Crash last night and it has left me with mixed feelings - not about the subject matter, of course, but certainly about the arguable qualities of the film itself. It is clearly a well made piece of work, but that is hardly the point; these days the appearance of professionalism is to be expected. What I want/need/demand now is that care and attention is paid to the story being told, but here I'm given it and I still feel unsatisfied.

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It was a good idea served up with boxing gloves - no subtlety at all. ... Like people who say things very loudly and very, very slowly when speaking to a foreigner to make sure they're understood.
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I did feel that the movie did go out of its way to hammer a point home. It's a point worth making, but getting hit with the Message Baseball Bat isn't any less painful just because you agree with the message.
What HP and BG say here is how I felt about it, basically. It's worse maybe, because when confronted by the loud-slow-bigot at least the non-English speaker can go and look for someone more useful to ask; here a point has to be made, and you will wait and experience it all.

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The story lines interweave a tiny bit too conveniently, but I can buy that.
Well, this does seem to happen nowadays, doesn't it? I don't mind it as a story feature, that all these lives form a chain. What I grate on is when they are also chained to the sole "issue" of the project - or even that there should be a sole issue. I've studied screenwriting and the tutors (and evidently the industry) love this stuff. In moderation I understand why: if you accept the idea that Your Film is an exploration of one particular theme, then integrating various approaches to that theme gives you an opportunity to create a holistically pleasing... but what the fuck? I don't want my entertainment to have undergone more therapy than I have, but that's what you end up with when it is taken too far: an all-embracing group hug that doesn't say anything useful because everyone's too caught up smiling through the tears.
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We're all racist. It's just a matter of degree.
This is certainly what Crash thinks it is saying and I have no problem with Ang pointing this out, but frankly I'm not a Racist. I'm an Individualist: I make blanket judgements of individual human beings, whom I may or may not have met yet, based on what I think I know about them. It's a point-of-view that I think deserves every bit as much attention as the (varied?) dimensions of racism presented in Crash, preferably by comparison to racial, national and religious reactionism - but why do so separately? These are all examples of how or why people negate other people and their beliefs, opinions, actions, rights. Attempting something like that would make Crash a challenging narrative, rather than what strikes me as a heavy handed over-simplification. Here's another one: we are no more all redheads than we are all racists (fucking ging-ers).

I had a similar moan over one detail of The Station Agent, that every passerby seemed to find "little people" ridiculous and got vocal about it. Things aren't that black and white in reality and I think to pretend otherwise devalues an otherwise valid point being made in fiction.

Now just to balance that out, there are some instances in Crash where what is presented as racism in other hands wouldn't be - I was thinking of the Producer's encounter with his boss, whose statements did contain a casually racist implication which was then hammed up by a lingering stare/battle of wills - but Ryan Phillipe's killing of the hitchhiker only becomes racist by inclusion in a narrative that implies every conflict is a racially motivated one.

Now, I actually enjoyed Crash a bit more than I expected (I always do this: paragraphs of criticism with one glowing sentence at the end). Well, not glowing exactly, but the characters and performances were generally strong and whatever its arguable flaws the overall experience is quite engrossing - so I consider it an example of competent dramatic entertainment. I would qualify this by noting that the recipient of Oscars here is an issue, not a film inherently superior to any other. Give me the power and Good Night, and Good Luck would have taken all the gongs given Crash.

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...am I the only one who felt a huge "DUH" coming on...
The subsequent reveal did seem a bit like a fix-up: the audience maybe didn't get it, quick, make things clear. In the moment though I went along with it experiencing the appropriate anxiety that cluelessness provides (although, my understanding is that blank "bullets" don't feature a lethal metal plug at the top, which would slightly undermine the point of them not firing hot lead about - how someone could even fail to load a gun properly while not noticing this is beyond me).
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Old 13th Jan 2007, 13:22   #25
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Default Re: Crash

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Originally Posted by Noumenon View Post
...This is certainly what Crash thinks it is saying and I have no problem with Ang pointing this out, but frankly I'm not a Racist. I'm an Individualist: I make blanket judgements of individual human beings, whom I may or may not have met yet, based on what I think I know about them. It's a point-of-view that I think deserves every bit as much attention as the (varied?) dimensions of racism presented in Crash, preferably by comparison to racial, national and religious reactionism - but why do so separately? These are all examples of how or why people negate other people and their beliefs, opinions, actions, rights. Attempting something like that would make Crash a challenging narrative, rather than what strikes me as a heavy handed over-simplification. Here's another one: we are no more all redheads than we are all racists (fucking ging-ers).
Hmm, very interesting Noumenon. I would say that I'm not racist either. But because of exposure to racism in our upbringing, history, media coverage, etc I think a person has to work at NOT being racist - I can't imagine this form of prejudice ever being totally eradicated from any person.

Why do racism separately from other forms of prejudice? Because you've only got two hours or so of film to tell the story.

I also don't think it works to compare a way of thinking to a physical trait, but maybe I am just not understanding your analogy.
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Old 13th Jan 2007, 18:50   #26
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Default Re: Crash

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I'm not racist either. But because of exposure to racism in our upbringing, history, media coverage, etc I think a person has to work at NOT being racist - I can't imagine this form of prejudice ever being totally eradicated from any person.
Having to work to break down established prejudices is, I'm sure, true, but part of me thinks that if the imprinting of my upbringing was absolute then I'd still be singing in the church choir and have two and a half children by now. The things that parents and society present to us as "the way to be" are in conflict with infinite other signals, however less strongly reinforced; but I don't think we can assume which ones will take hold, nor that one tendency will relentlessly succeed (or maybe I don't want to).

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Why do racism separately from other forms of prejudice? Because you've only got two hours or so of film to tell the story.
You can do a lot in two hours of film! And, as if that wasn't enough, you can do even more in three - even if most three hour films are slow and self-indulgent director massages. I think Crash: The Useful Cut is one where the message is "we're all prejudiced" and different forms are compared and contrasted. The existing version could have made the core racism point in one scene - in fact, a ten minute short film could achieve the same ends, demonstrating that there are different degrees and that "everybody has one". I think two hours is long enough to tell remarkably complex stories, the limit is the ingenuity of the filmmakers.

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I also don't think it works to compare a way of thinking to a physical trait, but maybe I am just not understanding your analogy.
Well, I was creating a "heavy-handed oversimplification", I admit, partly as an excuse to act "racist" towards people with ginger hair... however, maybe your response is closer to the point I want to make. Part of what Crash implies is like saying "you can bleach and dye red hair to escape from what your genes have given you, but underneath you are still a redhead". I think I might have stopped making sense now.
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Old 13th Jan 2007, 20:32   #27
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Default Re: Crash

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Originally Posted by Noumenon View Post
Having to work to break down established prejudices is, I'm sure, true, but part of me thinks that if the imprinting of my upbringing was absolute then I'd still be singing in the church choir and have two and a half children by now. The things that parents and society present to us as "the way to be" are in conflict with infinite other signals, however less strongly reinforced; but I don't think we can assume which ones will take hold, nor that one tendency will relentlessly succeed (or maybe I don't want to).
Definitely not absolute, I agree, but it would be difficult (impossible?) to go through life and never have a racist thought. I would not label anyone racist for the odd racist thought, but it is there at least to a small degree.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noumenon
You can do a lot in two hours of film! And, as if that wasn't enough, you can do even more in three - even if most three hour films are slow and self-indulgent director massages. I think Crash: The Useful Cut is one where the message is "we're all prejudiced" and different forms are compared and contrasted. The existing version could have made the core racism point in one scene - in fact, a ten minute short film could achieve the same ends, demonstrating that there are different degrees and that "everybody has one". I think two hours is long enough to tell remarkably complex stories, the limit is the ingenuity of the filmmakers.
Yes I think you are right.
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Well, I was creating a "heavy-handed oversimplification", I admit, partly as an excuse to act "racist" towards people with ginger hair... however, maybe your response is closer to the point I want to make. Part of what Crash implies is like saying "you can bleach and dye red hair to escape from what your genes have given you, but underneath you are still a redhead". I think I might have stopped making sense now.
You're making total sense.

Although I think it is a great film, I thought some of the racism was exaggerated and would not have needed to be. Like the lady not liking the look of the guy fixing the locks - would someone really say that with the person in earshot? And would he really have just ignored it?
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Old 22nd Jan 2007, 8:41   #28
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Default Re: Crash

AFter watching this last night, I think I'm pretty much in agreement with HP, beer good and Noumenon. I was swept into the drama pretty easily and it was punching all the right buttons but with too much deliberation; every encounter produced some pronounced racist incident, and Nou's point about other issues and motivations - negation of the other by all kinds of means and reasonings - is the one I came away with.

Some of the film was pure schmaltz - the scene with the locksmith and his little girl, heavy-handedly prefiguring what was to come, and then the shooting itself. Very dramatic of course but somewhat laboured in that you knew exactly what was coming. The scene that brought a lump to my throat and tears to eyes was Matt Dillon coming into the car to rescue Thandie Newton. It was the reverse of the locksmith's scene in that the cop is suddenly faced with the likelihood of his death and the woman's because of his earlier racist attitude, and his human instinct is to stay with her.

My son had to study this film in the autumn as part of his GCSE English coursework and he thoroughly enjoyed it and rated the film, but I think I found it was too simplified. Some of the perceived racism was actually more to do with 'class-ism' - would Sandra Bullock have been any less rude to a white "trailer-trash"-type cleaner, who never put the dishes away? I found House of Sand and Fog a much more moving and insightful film into the complexities of such issues.

Which all sounds bad - but I'd still give the film because it travels its path assuredly (perhaps a bit too surely) and the performances are mostly very strong: notably Matt Dillon and Don Cheadle.
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Old 22nd Jan 2007, 9:23   #29
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Default Re: Crash

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Some of the film was pure schmaltz - the scene with the locksmith and his little girl, heavy-handedly prefiguring what was to come, and then the shooting itself. Very dramatic of course but somewhat laboured in that you knew exactly what was coming.
I didn't know what was coming - I thought she was going to be killed. Almost couldn't watch - can't take children being hurt in films...
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Originally Posted by Colyngbourne
The scene that brought a lump to my throat and tears to eyes was Matt Dillon coming into the car to rescue Thandie Newton. It was the reverse of the locksmith's scene in that the cop is suddenly faced with the likelihood of his death and the woman's because of his earlier racist attitude, and his human instinct is to stay with her.
Probably the strongest scene in the film, very well done. The point I took from it is that being faced with the alternative of likely death, she didn't want him to touch her. I hadn't looked at it much from his point of view, so thank you!
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Old 22nd Jan 2007, 12:00   #30
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Default Re: Crash

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I didn't know what was coming - I thought she was going to be killed. Almost couldn't watch - can't take children being hurt in films...
I meant that the whole giving-of-the-cloak scene pointed at once towards the father being shot at at some point later in the film. And once you realised the scene had finally arrived and it took place at home, that the child would be involved, trying to give the cloak back to protect her father - I didn't like that kind of predictability. I had no idea (other than from reading spoilers here of course ) that the bullets were blanks.
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