"Crash". I saw this movie on DVD with Mary last night. (Alert! Alert! If you haven't seen it.) I mentioned this movie to my partners today. Juan and Mickey had seen it, and they thought it was simply terrific. Juan said he saw it on DVD one Saturday and then immediately viewed it again. Mary tells me it won an Adademy Award for Best Picture last time.
It was certainly well made. But what a picture of American culture it paints! I could only think of it being used by the Islamists as propaganda. It is propaganda, of course, for a particular world view. I guess. But what an entertainment to go 'round the world, purportedly telling everyone what we "really" look like together.
My partners thought that it showed how there is good in everyone, because, for example, the brutal, bigoted cop the next day after violating a woman in front of her husband during a traffic stop heroically saves the woman from certain death. Or the street punk, whose life work is hijacking automobiles at gun point at busy intersections, but who lets loose a family of illegal immigrants he finds in the back of a van he has stolen, when he apparently could have sold the illegals into some sort of slavery (here in the US, of course) for $500 a head. That sort of moral anthopology really doesn't cut it, I'm afraid, but it obviously has great appeal to some very intelligent people. And I will concede that in caricature, at least, it shows aspects of American culture that are profoundly ugly, greed, corruption, sexual immorality, and especially racism. But is the fascination with which one watches this movie a benign sort of entertainment or is it something more like voyeurism, in a way that movies generally are not?
I have to say a word about the sub-plot involving the Persian complete idiot who buys a handgun for "protection" and, of course, misuses it with potentially disastrous consequences, consequences that, Hollywood-style, fail to occur because of a deus-ex-machina circumstance that, although I didn't anticipate it, I figured out immediately. The subtext here is that we just cannot let guns be purchased so freely, especially by people who are not criminals and wish to be law-abiding and want a gun simply to protect themselves and their property. The problem is that these sorts of people will fly off the handle and go shoot some innocent person. So we cannot have citizens buying guns.(Interestingly, the people who seemed to handle the guns most responsibly, within, of course, the limits of their profession, were the two street punks, one of whom is killed by a white policeman who mistakes an innocent move by the street punk "victim" as an attempt by the victim to go for a gun of his own.)
Maybe I am getting to old and too cynical to have the right sort of admiration for a film like this. But I think the best thing that can be said for it, beyond its impressive crafting, is that it prevented Brokeback Mountain from getting the Oscar. or so I am told.
UPDATE: Sweetpea alerted me to a post on her husband's blog about Crash, and its well worth reading. (As are the other very interesting posts on that blog.)