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All about fear: Crash

Crash

Genre: Social drama
Director: Paul Higgis
Cast: Don Cheadle, Matt Dhillon, Thandie Newton, Sandra Bullock.
Storyline: Hate and suspicion.
Bottomline: Deserves the Oscar

It is not very difficult to guess why ``Crash" scored over ``Brokeback Mountain." Hollywood and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences seem to have had enough of feel-good cinema. They are done, at least for the time being, with films such as ``Titanic," ``Shakespeare in Love," ``A Beautiful Mind," ``Lord of the Rings" and so on.

``Crash" is far from these. It is an absolutely different genre. It is a movie that provokes us into thinking what terror, even the idea of terror, can do to our psyche. It can make us cruel and inhuman, to say the least.

"Crash" is a collage of images that tell us how frightened America really is, the film is set in California, and how suspicious its people are of one another.

Sandra Bullock as the District Attorney's wife is so paranoid about someone breaking into her house after her car is hijacked with the house keys in it that she gets hysterical with her husband and disturbs an important meeting.

A mother suspects her son of having killed his brother.

Out of this random array of moving frames — a trifle confusing in the beginning — we see a picture emerging. The jigsaw puzzle is complete: race relations are still a problem in the U.S., and it appears to have got more complicated after 9/11.

Haggis takes pain to tell us that Americans are afraid to touch one another, and if at all they do, it is only when their automobiles crash, creating a meeting point of sorts, however unpleasant, ugly and unhappy it may be.

``Crash" is cinema all right, evocatively powerful, that drives you to search your conscience. The work's slick editing, and fine performances by Don Cheadle (as the detective who has to investigate his brother's murder) and Newton and Dillon tell us that ``Crash" is not just another movie that can be easily forgotten.

GAUTAMAN BHASKARAN

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