You think you know who you are. You have no idea.

Set in the city of angels, Crash tells the stories of a dozen or so random Angelinos. The movie opens and concludes with the murder of a young black man and thereby functions as the frame story of the movie. In between we are shown what happened the day before in the lives of several individuals as well as the events that ultimately led to the killing of that young man. Police detectives (Don Cheadle; Jenifer Esposito) are taking bribes, police officers (Ryan Philippe; Matt Dillon) go on patrol, the well-off (Sandra Bullock) commandeer their Mexican cleaning lady, attorneys (Brendan Fraser) go to court and gang-bangers (e.g. Ludacris) carjack SUVs. In other words, everybody follows their everyday routine. But of course nothing ever happens as you think it would. People meet, tension builds up and anger, fear and frustration are released. And sometimes, people are killed in the process.

After a long period of Hollywood’s notorious summer big bang madness, Crash, directed by Paul Haggis who also wrote the screenplay for Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby, is a welcome low-budget ($6.5 million) independent production. Nevertheless, the movie shows off a killer cast with many members giving remarkable performances. Crash, deliberately and heavily relying on stereotypes, builds up realistic scenarios and portrays humans for what they really are. The movie’s cross-cultural collisions bring out the prejudices in these Angelinos and show us what we are too afraid to admit. Crash, being a movie with a serious message is obviously not always easy to watch but probably ranks amongst the best films of the year. The score is highly moving, the presentation is genius with great dialogues and thought-provoking lines (‘we crash into each other just so we can feel something’) and L.A. has never looked grittier before.

A daring crash course on human interactions. (3 out of 4 melting pots)

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