Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Crash Tests Dummies

Apologies to anyone actually reading out there for such a slow start to this blog. I blame connection problems this end, and the fact that I still haven't quite figured out what it's supposed to be yet. Anyway, for the time being I'm favouring random observations on random topics. Today's: Crash, everyone's favourite didactic tract about race prejudice. Peter Bradshaw's witty review in the Guardian was pretty much bang on for my money - the movie, like a slightly better Million Dollar Baby, is dramatically a sucker-punch and ideologically a bit of a waste of space. As a friend pointed out, it's a miracle that the words "Why can't we all just... get along!" somehow managed to avoid actually tumbling into Paul Haggis's overwrought script. (Or maybe they did, and he just craftily separated them out with other words.) Anyway, the cast is what elevates it. I only wish more print was being spilled on what's, for me, the standout performance, and one of my favourite in an American film so far this year. I'm talking about Michael Peña (pictured), who plays the Hispanic locksmith.

This terrific actor had small parts in M$B, the abysmal United States of Leland, and a little-seen Orlando Bloom vehicle called The Calcium Kid, but he gets easily his best opportunities to date here - the bedside scene with the daughter is just lovely, and it's to him Haggis has the nous to go for the most powerfully anguished close-up in the whole movie. (You'll know it when you see it.) Looks like Peña's signed up to play Nicolas Cage's police partner in the in-development Oliver Stone 9/11 film, a piece of news to which my reaction is both "yay!" and "uh-oh". But I digress. Crash's biggest heresy: thou shalt not structure thy movie so it has to end with a Stereophonics song. Let's set that one in stone please people. Crash: B—

1 comment:

FilmFan said...

Count me in on the Michael Peña love too.