Thursday, January 12, 2006

Roger Ebert praises "Crash"

Thursday, January 12, 2006
With several critics naming Crash as their Worst Movie of the Year, film critic Roger Ebert wrote an essay defending the film and noting that in his view Crash is the best movie of the year.

A passage from this essay that I rather liked was Ebert showing what one critic did not like about the movie and turning it on its head by responding about what the scene really was saying.

Foundas is too cool for the room. He is so wise, knowing and cynical that he can see through "Crash" and indulge in self-congratulatory superiority because he didn't fall for it. Referring to the wife who distrusts the locksmith, he writes: "when Sandra Bullock's pampered Brentwood housewife accuses a Mexican-American locksmith of copying her keys for illicit purposes, Haggis doesn't condemn her reprehensible behavior so much as he sympathizes with it."

This is a misreading of the film, but look at it more closely: Bullock is "pampered" and a "housewife," yet Haggis "sympathizes" with her behavior. Does he? No; I would say he empathizes with it, which is another thing altogether. She has just been carjacked at gunpoint and is hysterical. If Foundas were carjacked at gunpoint, would he rise to the occasion with measured detachment and sardonic wit? I wouldn't. Who will cast the first stone? And notice that the Mexican-American locksmith (Michael Pena) remains so invisible to Foundas that the actor is not named and Foundas has not noticed that the scene also empathizes with him.

It is worth noting that while I've only seen some twenty 2005 movies so far , Crash still easily holds the #1 position on my list and it will take something special to knock it off that spot.

1 comments:

WendyD said...

I fully agree with your assessment of 'Crash' as the best picture of 2005. I've seen a lot of movies this year. Nearly 8 in the last 3 weeks alone and yet 'Crash' is the one I'm still talking about. It made a serious impact. I was surprised to see so many critics were not moved more by it. Because I'm a cynic and understand movie character cliches more than a lot of my average movie going friends (present company excepted), and I didn't feel this movie fell into that at all. If anything it exposed where those cliches come from and how in some way we're all guilty of believing them.

 
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