The first line of Crash is “It’s the sense of touch. In any real city, you walk, you know? You brush past people, people bump into you. In L.A., nobody touches you. We’re always behind this metal and glass. I think we miss that touch so much, that we crash into each other, just so we can feel something.” I think that the opening line embodies any urban metropolis and even society in general at times. While the movie gets condemned for being too stereotypical in its portrayals of race and class, I feel like there is still truth within the film. For example, we see typical white-black racism between the white police officer and black case worker, mostly from the officer. Yet, at the end of the movie, we see the case worker getting into an accident in Chinatown and asking the Asian people if they can drive. The Persian store owner just dislikes anyone of any race. And yet there were good moments such as when the police officer rescues a woman from a previous altercation or the wannabe thug frees Cambodian smuggled immigrants. What I liked about the film is that it went beyond “Black people are criminals” and “White people are racists.” A diverse city like LA can create a lot of clashes and we’ve all been guilty of racism, discrimination, and prejudice in at least some small way. The movie did a good job of showing that we all have a story and none of us are perfect. Although we might get lost in a big city and even bigger world, we’re all connected.
There are a few settings in Crash that I noticed, like the Capitol Records building on Hollywood & Vine at the start of the film. I also liked Ord Street in Chinatown, but that might be because I’m Vietnamese and have been to every Chinatown I could have visited. There was also the Los Angeles City Hall in downtown LA. Also, many of the scenes were shot on location on LA streets, mostly in Studio City. The film was drastically darker in light and tone than the two other movies I watched: (500) Days of Summer and La La Land. LA as it was shown was definitely not a setting I was used to since I grew up in Orange County suburbs and went to a Catholic high school. I know that the film dramatized a lot, but I noticed the use of darkness and LA streets similar to Kent Mackenzie’s The Exiles.
— Alexandra Nguyen