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They all live in Los Angeles. And in the next 36 hours, they will collide.
Movie studios, by and large, avoid controversial subjects like race the way you might avoid a hive of angry bees. So it's remarkable that Crash even got made; that it's a rich, intelligent, and moving exploration of the interlocking lives of a dozen Los Angeles residents--black, white, latino, Asian, and Persian--is downright amazing. A politically nervous district attorney Brendan Fraser and his high-strung wife Sandra Bullock, biting into a welcome change of pace from Miss Congeniality get car-jacked by an oddly sociological pair of young black men Larenz Tate and Chris "Ludacris" Bridges; a rich black T.V. director Terrence Howard and his wife Thandie Newton get pulled over by a white racist cop Matt Dillon and his reluctant partner Ryan Phillipe; a detective Don Cheadle and his Latina partner and lover Jennifer Esposito investigate a white cop who shot a black cop--these are only three of the interlocking stories that reach up and down class lines. Writer/director Paul Haggis who wrote the screenplay for Million Dollar Baby spins every character in unpredictable directions, refusing to let anyone sink into a stereotype. The cast--ranging from the famous names above to lesser-known but just as capable actors like Michael Pena Buffalo Soldiers and Loretta Devine Woman Thou Art Loosed--meets the strong script head-on, delivering galvanizing performances in short vignettes, brief glimpses that build with gut-wrenching force. This sort of multi-character mosaic is hard to pull off; Crash rivals such classics as Nashville and Short Cuts. A knockout. --Bret Fetzer