Crash 2004

Critics score:
75 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Terry Lawson, Detroit Free Press: You will watch much of Crash in dread. That's not so much because you know things are going to get worse -- they do -- before they get better, but because you know Haggis is getting to the nut of things. Read more

Peter Debruge, Miami Herald: Contrived, obvious and overstated, Crash is basically just one white man's righteous attempt to make other white people feel as if they've confronted the problem of racism head-on. Read more

Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune: An intricate, explosive ensemble crime drama set in a modern urban pressure-cooker of racial and class hatreds. Read more

Carina Chocano, Los Angeles Times: A grim, histrionic experiment in vehicular metaphor slaughter. Read more

Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel: Its emotional lows and wicked below-the-belt punches make it a soul-searching film, a manipulative movie with a lot of stars and a writer-director staying on message throughout: We need to know each other better than this. Read more

Lou Lumenick, New York Post: Cheadle serves as the movie's Greek chorus, sorting out the fender benders that serve as a metaphor for a city where, Haggis implies, racial profiling rivals moviemaking as a leading activity. Read more

Andrew Sarris, New York Observer: I found Mr. Haggis' moralistic tales too facile for my taste. Read more

Christy Lemire, Associated Press: Haggis moves seamlessly between all these stories and has structured them in such a way that his characters reach a crisis point simultaneously, followed by melancholy clarity. Read more

Joanne Kaufman, Wall Street Journal: Ultimately, Crash succeeds in spite of itself. Its color war starts to feel obvious and schematic. Its coincidences and cliches become like a pileup on the 405 freeway, but there it is -- you find yourself rubbernecking and can't manage to look away. Read more

Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times: Crash, Paul Haggis' flawed but riveting tale of racism in contemporary Los Angeles, has moments so powerful they're instantly seared into your memory; you'll watch without blinking, barely breathing. Read more

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: The characters and individual dramas remain interesting in a personal way, but the overall conception of Crash is hackneyed. Read more

Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper: I think this is the kind of film that starts arguments and stimulates passionate discussion about topics that still make most of us cringe. Read more

Eleanor Ringel Gillespie, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: People collide as well in this literate, engrossing and occasionally funny look at race relations in Los Angeles. Read more

Scott Tobias, AV Club: Any relation to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. Read more

Bill Muller, Arizona Republic: Haggis challenges our common conceptions about race and allows no character to escape his own hypocrisy. Read more

Ty Burr, Boston Globe: Characters come straight from the assembly line of screenwriting archetypes, and too often they act in ways that archetypes, rather than human beings, do. Read more

Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader: The actors, especially Chris Bridges (aka rapper Ludacris), Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon, Michael Pena, and Larenz Tate, are adroit at conveying Haggis's candid observations about the crazy ways we live and think. Read more

Eric Harrison, Houston Chronicle: An ambitious and often wonderful movie, an expansive look at urban life -- the fractious, noisy whole of it -- filled with witty, biting and insightful writing. Read more

Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post: One of the finest American movies to engage our diverse richness and our casual and not-so-casual ethnic hostility. Read more

Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly: The stunning, must-see drama Crash is proof that words have not lost the ability to shock in our anesthetized society. Read more

Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News: Lop off a few characters, tighten the narrative geometry, and Crash might have a sledgehammer impact. As it is, the film is content to tap you on the shoulder and ask you to take a look around. Read more

Ella Taylor, L.A. Weekly: Not just one of the best Hollywood movies about race, but, along with Collateral, one of the finest portrayals of contemporary Los Angeles life period. Read more

Stanley Kauffmann, The New Republic: [Crash] is familiar enough that it slips easily into our film-watching faculty without any fuss, yet [Haggis'] handling of it -- his muscular belief in what he is doing -- makes us hope that his next screenplay will be a bit less safe. Read more

Gene Seymour, Newsday: Dark, fluid thriller seasoned with acerbic dialogue and rueful observations that may strike uncomfortably close to home. Read more

David Ansen, Newsweek: Haggis shows a lot of promise as a director: his film is never dull. But he needs to unlearn some of the bad lessons he picked up working in TV, which demands that everything be neat, symmetrical and underlined. Read more

Ken Tucker, New York Magazine/Vulture: It's smart, therefore, that Haggis has written such novel, precisely observed, often unpleasant characters as the ones Bullock, Dillon, and Cheadle inhabit. Read more

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger: Crash isn't set half-a-century ago, in some place of dusty roads and Skoal-spitting sheriffs. It takes place now, in Los Angeles, that most modern of American cities. Read more

Jami Bernard, New York Daily News: Crash wants to be taken seriously as a meditation on our anxiety-plagued times, but the coincidences are too pat, the tugs on the heartstrings too insistent. Read more

A.O. Scott, New York Times: So much feeling, so much skill, so much seriousness, such an urgent moral agenda -- all of this must surely answer our collective hunger for a good movie, or even a great one, about race and class in a modern American city. Not even close. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: Crash's strength is that it deals intelligently with serious subjects. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: Haggis writes with such directness and such a good ear for everyday speech that the characters seem real and plausible after only a few words. His cast is uniformly strong; the actors sidestep cliches and make their characters particular. Read more

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: Despite its preachy moments, the film is a knockout. In a multiplex starved for ambition, why kick a film with an excess of it? Read more

Stephanie Zacharek, Salon.com: And so Crash raises the question: If racism is so pervasive in our society, why do we need such an elaborately contrived plot to drive home the message? In other words: How many racists does it take to screw in the point? Read more

David Edelstein, Slate: The theme is racism. Let me say that again: The theme is racism. I could say it 500 more times because that's how many times the movie says it, in every single scene. Read more

Jeff Strickler, Minneapolis Star Tribune: Crash has been crafted to deliver a wake-up blow to our complacency. Read more

Rick Groen, Globe and Mail: Haggis bends back one full day to unravel the tangled threads leading to the crash, and, in turn, the tangle justifies the existence of his varied and polyglot ensemble. Read more

Geoff Pevere, Toronto Star: The best parts of Crash are as good as they are because they confront us with behaviour we might be capable of under the same circumstances. And we're not bad people. Are we? Read more

Geoff Andrew, Time Out: An already over-eventful narrative -- what, another crash? -- teeters into melodramatic implausibility. Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: Audiences may cringe as Haggis taps into the kind of offensive images that surreptitiously seep into the brains of even the most open-minded. His point is simple: No one is immune. Read more

Todd McCarthy, Variety: Haggis knows how to grab the viewer's attention, via intense confrontations as well as by planting dramatic seeds that bear fruit in, more often than not, grimly unexpected ways. Read more

Michael Atkinson, Village Voice: Full of well-observed supporting riffs, Crash might've accumulated more frisson had it cast a clearer eye on how social tension actually plays. Read more

Stephen Hunter, Washington Post: This is the rare American film really about something, and almost all the performances are riveting. It asks tough questions, and lets its audience struggle with the answers. Read more

Desson Thomson, Washington Post: Haggis's drama is about much more than interlocking front-end collisions. It's about the way we learn, often badly, about one another and how it may take a bad confrontation to peel away the misperceptions. Read more