Crash DVD Review

If Crash affects you the way it's intended, you'll never want to see it again. That's the best possible compliment the movie could receive. It runs the gauntlet of emotion, from anger, sadness, frustration, to aggravation, fun, and melodrama. There's nothing missing, and it's a large enough emotional drain that you'll never try to sit through it twice.

It's one of those morality plays, maybe too much so for some people. The story, involving so many actors, seems far more complicated than it is. It's not, just a tale of how complete strangers can affect each other and impact their lives in a short span of time. It's unbelievably forceful, powerful, and moving.

Even with everything that happens as naturally flawed people's lives are intertwined, the ending could not have been written any better. There really isn't one, leaving the characters open, if they've changed or not. It's up to the viewer to figure out where these people are going from here, or possibly see one of them as themselves. It's a brilliant finish.

The only problem here is sometimes forced dialogue. Words are spoken to be racist just for the sake or being racist. It's overblown and unnatural at times. It's used to set up the characters whose lives will be affected in the time frame of the film. It happens early enough to possibly take some people out of the movie, and kill that pull dramas like this can have.

Everyone involved on screen makes sure you know their characters and motivations in preparation for discussion afterwards, regardless of the lines they're given. Aside from a few questions that need answering, you have all the information necessary. These are classic performances, even from people who are not usually actors (like rapper Ludacris).

This is a masterpiece for director and writer Paul Haggis. His feature film credits are short, yet this could be the single film he needs to gain any job he wants. Crash is that good, even though it's a film that isn't entertaining. It shouldn't be. (***** out of *****)

You wouldn't know this movie is a success by this DVD transfer. There is something seriously wrong here. Any scene shot in slow motion has major interlacing problems. This same flaw required a voluntary recall of Monty Python discs a few years ago. The rest of the film is fine in this regard. When at full speed however, grain is overly heavy, compression artifacts litter the screen, and any fine detail is blotted out. This is almost as depressing as the film itself. (**)

There's little to the audio punch except a few shots of bass from the soundtrack. There's no rear speaker use anywhere. It's dialogue driven all the way, and it's been mixed so every line can be heard. That's usually something a 5.1 mix will fail with, but this one gets it right. (***)

Extras are sparse, possibly for the better to leave the film with the viewer to make their own calls. The commentary, with Haggis, Don Cheadle, and producer Bobby Maresco is informative without forcing their thoughts. Before that, you're probably supposed to watch the wasteful 15-second introduction from Haggis as he welcomes you to the DVD. The brief behind-the-scenes feature is generic praising of everyone involved for 10-minutes. The special features are over after some trailers and a music video. (**)

Even with some of the bigger stars involved here, Crash cost a meager $6.5 million to create. Though that hardly sounds cheap (it is though), it's amazing what a film that barely registers a blip on a Hollywood financial statement can accomplish. In a perfect world, it would change people, but that's unlikely to be the result. Still, it's a powerful, unforgettable piece, as close to perfection as it could be.

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