Monday, June 06, 2005

CRASH

CRASH might better be titled VIGNETTES, because that is what the hour and forty minute running time is composed of, about a dozen little, but somewhat overlapping vignettes of Los Angeles street life. The film was a little slow in starting because it took so long to logo all the different production companies before and after the title card. So right away you know that all the lead actors have participation positions in the project. IMDB lists fifteen producer credits, but don't worry about the broth, you can be sure the only thing they’re cooking is the books.

Story-wise, there is none. The script seems derived from an email collection of urban myths and fairy tales, tinged by Tarantino mania. Instead of a plot, much less a story, it is an anthology of angst and irony, presented in two and three minute scene increments and intercut into a patchwork quilt pattern that is schematically formal but emotionally dead and creatively banal. With so many characters to quickly move on and off screen, there is little time for characterization, but the proficient cast of profit participants does a good job of hitting their camera and emotional marks to deliver their simplistic homilies with conviction.

Personally, I’m not much for angst, but I do like irony. And when some of the irony in CRASH is presented with humor, I am amused. Beyond that, I felt totally detached from the screen. No sadness, anger, fear, catharsis, joy or satisfaction. Sitting there alone, I felt like a movie critic, which is a dreary way to screen a movie.

But, as you see, I don’t write like a movie critic. No detailed and irrelevant plot outline. No spoilers. No awarding of credit or blame to one collaborator which is really due to another. Just a reasonable alert from an old curmudgeon.

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