Hard Decisions in the Movie Crash
Crash is a crime drama film that was produced in 2004. It is directed by Paul Haggis who is also the producer and its co-writer. Paul Haggis was inspired by a real life carjacking incident that took place in Wilshire Boulevard outside a video store in 1991. It focuses on racism and as well as social tension present in California. Starring is Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon, Jennifer Episto, William Fichtner, Brendan Fraser, Terrence Howard, Chris Bridges, Thandie Newton, Ryan Phillipe and Larenz Tate .
Dilemmas Facing the Characters
The aspect of racism present in Los Angeles as portrayed in the movie is obvious. During the early parts of the movie, we are introduced to two black men, Anthony (Ludachris) and Peter (Larenz Tate). They are young and casually dressed. They are complaining about the poor service they have just received at a restaurant which Peter attributes to their race. He says that it is believed that black people do not tip, and that is why staff in Los Angeles does not bother to give them the perfect service. They discuss this possibility for a while, and they portray casual racism as an everyday occurrence. They put across the fact that they react to social racism based on their mood of the day .
As Anthony and Peter walk down the street, they pass by a white couple, Sandra Bullock and Brendan Fraser. Bullock seems insecure after passing by the two black men, and when Anthony notices this he makes a joke about white people by calling them “over caffeinated” and then does the most outrageous thing: he pulls out his gun, leads the couple back to their car and carjacks them. Anthony and Peter run over an Asian and after a short period of discussion dump him outside a hospital and drive off. Coming to that decision was tough because they risked getting arrested considering the fact that they had carjacked a couple. What they did is not justifiable, but I think it was humane to drop him at the hospital entrance.
Another incident comes up where Anthony and Peter make an attempt to carjack Cameron who resists. Anthony is pissed, and he tells Peter to shoot Cameron. However, Peter refuses to do so. They drive off in a car, and Anthony still holds a gun against Cameron until the police officers catch up with them. Cameron then drops Anthony at a bus station and tells him how embarrassing his behavior is as a fellow black man. It was a tough decision to make considering the fact that Anthony meant to carjack him .
The most remarkable part is that of the cruel white cop, Tom Ryan (Matt Dillion). During his line of duty, Matt takes pleasure in harassing Cameron Thayer (Terrence Howard), a wealthy TV producer and his wife Christine (Thandie Newton). Sexual harassment is evident whereby he molests Christine for resistance by carrying out an explicit pat-down on her, an act that infuriates Christine. Cameron remains silent all this while.
Hansen has a problem with Ryan because of his acts of racism. He approaches his superior, L.T Dixon about the issue and asks to be given a different partner. Instead, Dixon puts him off with a cruel joke about the reason he gives for wanting to swap partners. Dixon tells Hansen that his accusation against his partner could cost him and his partner their jobs.
Hansen is later on faced with a tough decision after he kills Peter. This starts when he picks up Peter who was hitchhiking. Peter realized that Hansen’s statuette of Saint Christopher resembles his and laughs as he reaches his pocket to get his out. However, Hansen thinks that Peter is taking out his gun and quickly shoots him killing him and dumps his body. He then burns his own car to eliminate any traces of being tracked down and leaves .
An ethical dilemma comes up when Ryan visits Shaniqua, an insurance representative of “managed care” at her office to for a change of doctors as a result of the new bladder infection that his father was diagnosed with, which he doubted was prostate cancer. Shaniqua denies him the request, something that angers Ryan who ends up hurling insults at Shaniqua until Shaniqua orders security to get him out of the office. This is unethical, and despite their personal issues, Shaniqua was supposed to offer her help to Ryan’s father because her denial of the request puts Ryan’s father’s life at risk as a result of misdiagnosis.
Farhad, a Persian shop owner, goes to purchase a revolver against his daughter’s wishes and ends up arguing with the gun store owner. The gun store owner happened to call him Osama and Farhad being hot-tempered does not take it lightly. It is wrong to consider a person of Asian descent a terrorist.
How does the behavior of the Public Affect the Way they Relate with the Police
In the case Of Hansen, a police officer who despises racism, the character associated with black people is the reason he killed Peter, even though by mistake. The activities in which Peter involved himself made Hansel insecure, and he could not think that Peter was reaching for his pocket with pure intentions.
It has been clearly laid out that most white people in Los Angeles are racists, both black and white, Asians and Americans. Ryan is a police officer who despises black people and is known for it. The way he treated Cameron and his wife was enough for anybody who witnesses it to shun the police force. His foul relationship with Shaniqua is also as a result of his arrogance, this time the consequences being dire because his father’s life is on the line. Shaniqua’s conduct may have been outright unethical, but she most probably did not regret it. This is because she viewed this as more of pay back than misconduct in her profession.
Dixon is also proof of authority turning a blind eye on unethical conduct for the sake of smooth flow of events within the work place. Dixon let Ryan go unwarned about his behavior and racism which was mostly directed towards African Americans like him just because it was not him that Ryan hurt
Despite the social and racial tension in Los Angeles, we see the characters’ moral ethics come into play in some situations. For example, Ryan did help Christine, Cameron’s wife when they had an accident and her life was in danger. Jean changes her attitude towards her maid after she saves her life during a minor home accident and a wealthy black man caught is a police chase. Hansen, a sensitive police officer, has this idea that any black man is a potential carjacker. The movie shows both sides of each character, the good and the bad, and brings out the idea that interaction between individuals is what determines how they view each other.
Scott, A. O. (2005). Movies. New York Times.