Movie Review: "Crash"
Movie Review: "Crash"
Paul Higgins, writer and director for the controversial movie “Crash” does an excellent job in delivering heavy duty sociological issues in American culture through this riveting film. Numerous concepts and theories studied in sociology can be identified in nearly every scene of the movie. The uncomfortable topics of racism, classism, and sexism are at the hub of the storyline of Higgins film, forcing the audience to acknowledge the truth about morally troubling behavior and actions that are still currently issues in American society. Although the movie has received both acclaim and criticism for the exaggeration of connectivity among the characters within the film, the blatant message of the sociological issues existing in America are what is most valuable about the film. The antagonistic framework of the movie displays the difficulties of the reality of living in a ‘melting pot’ where ethnic and racial diversity are creating complex imbalances for so many citizens. The following review is will use scenes from “Crash” to highlight particular topics commonly covered in sociology as a way to gain clarity on theories by connecting them to real life scenarios.
One of the most noticeable issues seen repeatedly throughout the movie is of the strong racism that exists regarding the attitudes towards and against black people. Crash allows the audience to see that regardless of the social class, if an individual is black, he or she is not given the respect and preferential treatment that the white man or woman is given. The stereotypical perception of white individuals towards black men in particular is a horrible practice of labeling that is shown in scenes involving the white cops.
In one of the scenes the stereo type and racial profiling of black individuals is shown when movie director Cameron and his wife Christine are driving home in their SUV headed home. LAPD officers John Ryan and Tom Hansen are out patrolling when Ryan spots a black man driving in a nice SUV. He automatically begins to suspect that the vehicle must be stolen. This encourages him to follow along and pull the couple over. Cameron and Christine are confused why they are getting pulled over and are joking because they were in the middle of sexual acts. The scene ends in a disgusting sexual abuse of Christine by Officer Ryan who abuses his position against Cameron and his wife for his personal kicks. The disrespectfulness in this scene is multi-faceted from the sociological perspective. The racial profiling that is a problem in our society among law enforcement against black citizens was one that was evident, and the abuse of power upon a female by a male is also shown through this scene. The couple is left traumatized with complete humiliation for the complete disregard of decency shown by these white cops.
One of the other important scenes that stand out to me in regard to the concept of ethnocentricity involves the Persian store owner and the Hispanic locksmith. The interesting factor in this particular circumstance is that it involves two minorities who have prejudices within their own reality against another ethnic group. It is not only a whites again all minority issue, but the trouble of various cultural and ethnic stereotypes against other groups. The Persian store owner, who himself faces the hardships of prejudice hires the Hispanic locksmith to fix a lock on the backdoor of his business. When the locksmith informs the owner that the lock is not the issue, but that the door needs replacement, the owner becomes angry and accuses the locksmith of not doing the job right. The locksmith refuses to do any work or even collect what he is owed because of his irritation with this man. That night the Persian store owner’s business is robbed. In the morning when he sees that his store is in ruins, he becomes distraught and wants vengeance on the locksmith who he assumes did all this on purpose to get his fellow Hispanic hoodlums to rob his store. Luckily the revenge plan does not end with murder, which is what was going to happen, but the point of the example is to show how the movie used the challenges of ethnocentrisms in this scene. The Persian’s sense of superiority and stereotype of Hispanic men led him to be convinced that the locksmith had ulterior motives. Had the locksmith been a white man or another Persian man, would the store owner have responded the same?
Many more sociological issues are depicted throughout the entire film. Although the reality of this many connected characters involved in such highly controversial scenarios full of sociological lessons in a 36 hours period seem ridiculous, Higgins does a fantastic job via the entertainment media to publicize touchy subjects that are happening on a daily basis throughout the United States.
DeFazio, K. (n.d.). Crash and the Ethnic
Within. Retrieved from http://www.redcritique.org/WinterSpring2007/crashandtheethnicwithin.htm
Higgins, Paul (Dir.) (2005). “Crash “(Motion picture).Lions Gate Entertainment.
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