CRASH represents a sea change in careers moves for many of the people involved, not the least director and co-writer Paul Haggis, a veteran of television sitcoms. The provocative story of anger, fear, and race relations in contemporary Los Angeles also provides Ryan Phillippe with one of his best roles in years, maybe the best ever as an idealistic police rookie coming face-to-face with the mean streets.
When I spoke with Haggis and Phillippe on April 29, 2005, the serious issues brought up in the film were certainly prominent, but that didn’t stop either of them from bringing some real levity to the mix. Especially when I asked Haggis if part of the reason he cast Phillippe as the rookie cop was because he has the face of an angel.
CRASH is a film that confronts even as it enlightens. The casual racism is far more pernicious than the overt variety, and carries with it the sting of familiarity, perhaps too much so. Passionate performances, and a willingness to opt for truth rather than easy answers and glib solutions get to the heart of a culture in crisis as seen over the course of a very revealing 36 hours
The film co-stars Don Cheadle, Sandra Bullock, Thandie Newton, Matt Dillon, Loretta Divine, Ludacris, and Jennifer Esposito.