Film and Food

Movies reviews with matching food – eat, watch, enjoy

Best Picture – Crash (2005)

Starring Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon, Brendan Fraser & Sandra Bullock


It’s been seven years since this film won the Oscar for Best Picture and it’s still as relevant today as it was way back then! Crash is one of those rare films that dares to dig beneath the shiny surface of western culture and what it finds is far from pretty. I love that it bravely throws everything that’s politically correct out the window as it tackles themes like racism, fear and paranoia in modern America and that is why it won Best Picture.

It all begins on a winter’s night in Los Angeles. A car crash, a murder and a couple of detectives, Waters (Cheadle) and Ria (Jennifer Esposito). Then we flash back to the day before where an old Persian man Farhad (Shaun Toub) argues with his daughter in a gun shop about which ammunition to buy for his new gun. Farhad storms out after the shop keeper starts racially abusing him and his faithful daughter reluctantly buys the gun and ammo for him.

The film then skips over to the wealthy side of town where District Attorney Rick Cabot (Fraser) and his wife, Jean (Bullock) are walking back to their car after a dinner date. In the same street two African-American fellas Anthony (Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges) and Peter (Larenz Tate) are talking about how white people assume they’re going to mug them just because they’re black and happen to be walking down the same street.  Then the fellas mug the DA, stealing his black 4WD. Back at the DA’s house the locks are being changed by Hispanic locksmith Daniel Ruiz (Michael Peña) who overhears Jean ranting about the fact that he looks like a gang-banger; racism, racism, racism.

Phew! I hope you’re keeping track of all the characters, but wait there’s more…

Back on the beat, Detectives Waters and Ria are at the scene of a shooting between two cops; one black, one white and things just don’t add up; racism, racism, racism, assumptions.

In the next scene we meet more of LAPD’s finest: Officer John Ryan (Dillon) and Tom Hansen (Ryan Phillippe) who are doing a fine old job patrolling the streets of L.A. On the radio they hear that the D.A’s car has been stolen then spot a similar one directly in front of them. It’s clear that there’s some racey things going on in this 4WD so ropey old Ryan decides to pull them over, knowing full well that they’re not who he’s looking for. Ryan orders the driver, African-American TV director Cameron Thayer (Terrence Howard) to step out of the car for no good reason. His wife, Christine (Thandie Newton) kicks up a fuss and then experiences some tough and invasive police treatment from Officer Ryan.

Then things get complicated and these characters start crossing paths in the most incredible way and it’s here that I will stop my plot description so you can enjoy the ride for yourself. This is such a smart film with an amazing cast and a raw and honest message. I LOVE IT!

There are twists and turns that will shock and delight and upset you but it is worth the ride. In the end there is hope, there is redemption and that’s what makes it such a satisfying film. It doesn’t leave you completely shattered, rocking in the corner, deep in despair. It feels real because it is unafraid to portray characters that are three dimensional, that simultaneously have the capacity for such good and also such devastating flaws that drive them to do terrible things.

If you haven’t seen this film, put it on your bucket list! It will not leave you disappointed.

Crash Trivia:

  • Budget – only $7 million
  • Heath Ledger was considered to play the role of Hansen.
  • Bullock loved the film so much, she bought her own plane ticket to travel to the set.
  • The D.A’s house is actually director, Paul Haggis’ home. Nice one Haggis!
  • John Cusack was to play the D.A
  • Two Korean actors were cast as the ‘chinese’ couple to prove that most non-Asians can’t tell the difference between Asian nationalities and just prefer to call them ‘chinese’ without thinking about it!
  • Bullock is only on screen for six minutes.
Ok, how can we top this film? Well, we’ll give it a ripe royal go with next week’s film, The Departed, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Jack Nicholson. See ya then!!


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