Crash (UK - BD RB)
Our Marcus is hoping he'll never have to crash back into this movie ever again...
'It's the sense of touch. In any real city, you walk, you know? You brush past people, people bump into you. In L.A., nobody touches you. We're always behind this metal and glass. I think we miss that touch so much, that we crash into each other, just so we can feel something.'
I’m not going to beat around the bush here. Since its 2004 release, I’ve disliked Crash. I never really understood why it became the Best Picture Oscar winner (among many other awards) and I certainly never met another film lover who has much good to say about the flick either. Watching it again now (despite all but promising myself I never would), I’ve got to say nothing's changed. It’s hard to think of a heavier handed piece of popular filmmaking in recent memory and with more god awful dialogue than you can throw a stick at, it’s just a movie I find impossible to like.
Sadly, for me, this places a storm cloud over all of the movie's good intentions—moments that, if not placed within this mishmash of clunkiness would be genuinely uncomfortable and have a comment to make about elements of the world we live in. I just feel that Crash bombards us with its message from the outset and just doesn’t know when to let up when it needs to, resulting in any sort of impact getting washed away in a flash flood.
Another sour point is that the cast, the majority of whom I’ve really enjoyed in other movies, do absolutely nothing to draw me in here. Sandra Bullock’s venomous side works for about two scenes, I don’t know what the usually great Don Cheadle is trying to achieve here, and the less said about Jennifer Esposito, Brendan Fraser and the ‘oh, please stop talking’ performance from Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges the better. Matt Dillion sort of comes off as memorable, but his role isn’t exactly pushing his range and Larenz Tate is always great (what’s happened to that guy anyway?), but neither are roles that can save the whole. As I said before, in amongst the clunkiness, there are glimmers of greatness trickling through the cracks, it’s just a shame any chance of it shining is ruined by the cast launching into a series of statistics about minorities, just to show where all of this prejudice is coming from. It makes everyone come across as characters as opposed to real people.
As if you hadn’t guessed so far, Crash just doesn’t work at all for me and with six years distance from it, this return viewing probably fared worse with me than the movie did the first time around.
Released in a 1080/50i transfer (yes, people that’s an i, not a p) Crash initially shows obvious signs of the interlacing, but they soon disappear. Artistically, this is a pretty dark movie anyway and the deep blacks work very well in places, despite having moments of looking a little hazy.
The golden orange lighting mixed with the greens and reds glow nicely off of the screen but the impressive nature of the HD upgrade is lost somewhat with the gritty, intentional level of grain on show and the low lighting in many of the scenes.
There is an obvious step up from the standard definition release (what I can remember of it anyway), but it certainly doesn’t come with bells and whistles and the slight softness to the transfer really seems to affect the small details.
Generally Crash is made up of a tonal score floating around forced, heavy handed dialogue and for that much the track does okay. There’s a nice level of bass, the score builds a presence using all of the speakers and the dialogue sits solidly in the front speakers. Beyond that there’s very little to write about, beyond the odd police siren (going to the scene of a race related crime no doubt) and the ambience of people moving around the city (trying to crash into one another). All in all this is a pretty standard sounding mix.
The commentary by Paul Haggis, Bobby Moresco and Don Cheadle is a pretty straight on the nose affair. The participants seem to get on well enough, but they don’t really deviate off of the basics of offering a bit of background and discuss how each scene plays out. There are also quite a few silent moments and all in all it’s a pretty timid affair.
There are ten minutes worth of deleted scenes all in horrible quality and then everything else is presented in pretty bleak standard definition, beginning with ‘Behind the Metal and Glass’ (28:14 SD) which is a pretty conventional making of with stories about how Crash is breaking boundaries and took a whole lot to get a studio to sign off making the movie.
Rounding up, there are two featurettes—‘L.A.: The Other Main Character’ ((14:21 SD) and ‘Unspoken’ (11:32 SD)—both of which are narrated by Thandie Newton (or a good sound alike) and make Crash sound like the cleverest film in modern cinema.
After seeing it for the first time, a friend of mine summed up his feelings on Crash pretty perfectly when he described it as ‘Like being hit over the head with a rubber mallet that has the word ‘racism’ stamped on it’ and really I don’t think I can sum up my own feelings on the movie any better than that. For all of its good intentions, and its fable like approach to a genuine problem with the world, this Oscar winner just doesn’t shine at all for me.
The disc itself doesn't do much more to butter me up either. The transfer and audio track are both pretty uneventful and the features feel a little tired and out of date and all in all this winds up feeling like a lazy catalogue release to take advantage of awards seasons as opposed to a celebration of an award winner.
* Note: The above images are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 1st February 2010
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 6.1, Dolby Digitial 5.1 English
Extras: Commentary, Making of, Featurettes
Easter Egg: No
Director: Paul Haggis
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon, Thandie Newton
Length: 110 minutes
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