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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover



Starring: Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon, Jennifer Esposito and Brendan Fraser
Pathé Distribution
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 15
Available 01 February 2010

Graham Waters (Don Cheadle) surveys his city and the inevitable way that its multicultural citizen spend their time crashing into each other. In the city of dreams racism is a tool, an attitude and a daily reality...

Crash (2005 - 1 hr, 50 min, 17 sec) is a drama directed by Paul Haggis from his own original story. The film won four Oscars for Best Achievement in Editing, Best Motion Picture of the Year and Best Writing, Original Screenplay. The film also won another forty-one awards and was nominated for a further sixty-six.

The film tells a multipart story with various inhabitant of L.A. meeting each other in passing, their meetings usually having a devastating effect on what should have been strangers. The central theme of the film is the inherent racism which exists in the city and the film examines many aspects of this. Whilst this may sound like a plot to put most people off Haggis, it takes the time to balance out his characters attitudes, realising that racism can be both realised and presumed. None of his characters are either totally demonised or vindicated in their beliefs.

Although the film is literally book ended by car crashes, the first of which sets the film's narrative in motion, there are a number of concurrent stories running through the movie. The most central one involves Officer John Ryan (Matt Dillon), who takes on a new rookie partner Tom Hansen (Ryan Phillipe), who is appalled at the apparent racism displayed by Ryan, exemplified by feeling up Christine (Thandie Newton) on the pretext of frisking her right in front of her husband Cameron Thayer (Terence Howard). Their only crime is being that they are black and driving an expensive car.

At the same time Anthony (Chris "Ludacris" Bridges) and Peter (Larenz Tate) pass a white couple and interpreting the wife’s reaction as racist decide to carjack the couple. This leaves Jean (Sandra Bullock), traumatised and afraid to go out of the house, while her husband Rick Cabot (Brendan Fraser), the local D.A uses the incident in an attempt to get re-elected.

There are many more strands to the film and as it plays out the experience is deeply moving on many levels, the most tragic being the seemingly accidental shooting of a little girl by Iranian Farhad (Shaun Toub) in an argument over money.

The film just oozes quality from the cinematography, which makes an extra character out of the city to the brooding score and the faultless acting of the entire crew. If you haven’t seen the film before, it is not as complex as you would imagine, though like most of this genre we are shown the ending before we experience the tragic sequence of events which leave a young black man dead next to a lonely road.

The disc doesn’t really use much of the available Blu-ray technology. What you do get is a seriously enhanced picture quality. There are two audio options; either a 5.1 Dolby or DTS HD Master Audio 6.1 tracks both do an excellent job.

The extra on the disc are all standard definition. You get some deleted scenes (10 min, 21 sec) which comes with a commentary, plus you get a full length commentary for the film featuring Paul Haggis, Don Cheadle and Bobby Moresco. This is one of the best, detailed and engaging commentaries for a while and if you enjoyed the film it’s well worth going around again with it on.

The disc also features three mini documentaries. Behind the Metal and Glass - The Making of Crash (28 min, 14 sec) with contributions from cast and crew looking at the creation of such a difficult and delicate film.

L.A. the Other Main Character (14 min, 21 sec), narrated by Thandie Newton, looks at the importance of the city to the film and Unspoken (11 min, 32 sec) takes a look at the central theme of racism.

Haggis has created a moving and profound film, with believability convincing characters, which will make you question your own views and others. If you haven’t seen the film before buy this version as it is the best so far.


Charles Packer

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