Interview: The Baby Drought
Industrial: Lies, AWAs and Statistics
Workplace: The Invisible Parents
History: Bruce’s Big Blunder
Politics: All God's Children
Economics: Spun Out
International: Shakey Trials
Legal: Civil Distrubance
Review: Crash Course In Racism
Poetry: You're Fired
The Locker Room
An Act of Faith
Remembering Workers In Cairns
Fair Go For Injured Workers
A Question Of Choice
Galahs Up The Cross
Crash Course In Racism
One of the stars in Paul Haggis' Crash has a theory. He believes that in the vehicle dominated western world, car crashes provide a vital opportunity for people to actually step outside their usual armour and collide for a while.
What is revealed in these 'heats of the moment' is far more real than the world views people wrap themselves in while in the safety of their cars, their homes, and everyday lives.
The theory fails to impress his partner, a fellow detective also on duty to investigate a car crash scene, but it goes on to form the basis of the movie.
Directed by the creator of Million Dollar Baby, Crash uses a collage of interwoven characters and subplots to reveal the range of people's experiences of these 'crashes' - each scenario building on the overarching theme of race relations. Or more specifically, racism.
A contentedly racist housewife, a struggling Persian storeowner, an in-denial rookie cop, and a harried Mexican locksmith are just a few of the characters to collide over the course of this movie's 36-hour timeframe.
Crash's star-laden line-up includes the likes of Matt Dillon, Don Cheadle, Sandra Bullock, and Brendan Fraser. The production is slick, the pace is intense, and the collisions are engrossing.
But while the crashes in this movie are the literal variety, the phenomenon in question rings just as true when it concerns surprising, shocking, and enraging experiences in daily life.
All of these have the opportunity to lift the veil for a while and expose what people really feel, whether they are comfortable with it or not.
Crash reveals the sad irony that one thing almost everybody shares in common is a sense of prejudice - whether it be race, sex, class, beauty, or even a severe aversion to an American accent.
Often this prejudice is so well subverted not even the possessor is aware of it until something like a serious accident brings emotions to a head.
It also shows that some of the most damaging acts can be conducted by people convinced they are free of the scourge.
How many people calling for aid and tourism to be withheld from Indonesia would identify themselves as racists and why, if not because of the cult of beauty, has there not been the equivalent outrage concerning David Hicks? His case contains just as much reasonable doubt.
For us who nod our heads knowingly, in what ways to we perpetuate prejudice in some way?
This movie brings with it many cringe inspiring moments. During several scenes outlining the extent of stereotyping it indulges in the very same crime itself.
It feels uncomfortable to watch yet the audience finds itself laughing along with the jokes.
We are safe to because this is actually a comment on racism, we assure ourselves, and sometimes racism from the outside does look so stupid as to be laughable. At other times it feels our boundaries have been breached to the point of no return.
But as the closing credits start rolling it dawns that if it has gone too far the effect is no less than to have proven its point. With honesty about the extent of prejudice and its impacts on society and individuals, comes the opportunity to take responsibility.
That Crash imparts this message free of preachy tones is a miracle in itself.
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