March 30, 2011
By , 1, VT

The film Crash, directed by Paul Haggis, is a thought provoking and mind boggling movie. I experienced a range of emotions after the film and needed time to process and reflect on the powerful messages the director expressed. I enjoyed the whole film but was saddened and even angered by events that took place. There were many events taking place throughout the movie that were all connected in some way. A common theme woven throughout the film was how the characters changed their views about ethnicity. Racism was a key component during the film and connected the characters in positive and negative ways.

I thought Paul Haggis did a great job with all the different scenes. He had at least five scenes simultaneously going linked through racism. All the scenes had an interesting message that had me pondering over my feelings.

Most of the characters experienced an event that occurred during the movie that changed their views on race. The district attorney’s wife, Jean, showed signs of racism in the beginning of the film when she looked strangely at two black men walking down the street. She also showed racism as she yelled at her husband to get a new person to re-fix the locks because the individual that did them was a “gang-banger” and would sell the extra keys to his friends. It saddened and angered me to know that the “gang-banger” she was referring to was a kind and loving husband and father, struggling to make money for his family. However, when Jean takes a nasty fall on the stairs and realizes that nobody was willing to help her but her Latin-American maid she acknowledges that her best friend is her maid. She even gives her a hug. Initially, I thought of Jean as very racist, but by the end of the film I could tell that she had changed significantly. It seemed like she didn’t like the life she was living even though she came from extreme wealth. I was pleased to see a character like Jean understand that money doesn’t buy happiness or friends.

The switch Jean made from being a racist to having a better understanding of minorities was a common theme that most characters experienced. The young police officer also went through experiences that changed his views on race. He showed signs of not being a racist in the beginning of the film. He seemed like he knew right from wrong. He helped the black movie director get out of a lot of trouble by giving him a warning when the movie director had gotten into a mess. He did this because Officer Ryan, his old partner, abused the movie director’s wife. It was a sort of payback. However, the young officer witnessed a lot of racism and ended up shooting an innocent black man because of fear and ignorance. The young officer assumed he was going to be shot by the black hitchhiker he picked up. It was racism that he never thought he possessed. The young officer’s experience seemed realistic to me. Many people go through life believing they aren’t racist until they are hit with an experience like this young officer went through. It is hard to truly identify your inner beliefs.
Another interesting character was Shaniqua. Shaniqua works at an insurance company and is woman of color. She encounters racist remarks from Officer Ryan. I could tell that Shaniqua was extremely offended by the Officer’s comments. I felt bad for Shaniqua as she was the victim of inhumane treatment. However, at the very end of the film, Shaniqua is rear ended by someone of Asian descent. After realizing the Asian woman doesn’t speak great English, Shaniqua tells her in an unkind voice to go back to her own country. Even though Shaniqua doesn’t play a significant role in the film I couldn’t help but be angered by her actions. I also lost respect for Shaniqua. She clearly didn’t like how she was being treated by Officer Ryan, but treats a different minority in a similar, disrespectful way.
To me some the different stories were enjoyable, sad or even scary. It’s a movie that would have to be watched many times for me to have a better understanding. One processes a lot watching this film.

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