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Crash Movie Analysis

In: English and Literature

Submitted By sulli1213
Words 1544
Pages 7
Movie Analysis
John J. Sullivan
Rasmussen College

Author Note
This research is being submitted on, September 19, 2014, for Heidi Croatt’s G141/COM1002 Section 01 Introduction to Communication - 2014 Summer Quarter.

John Sullivan [Final Draft] September 19, 2014
The movie CRASH covers thirty-six hours of encounters between people of different races. Within that thirty six-hour period, interactions between strangers turn into heated racial arguments, full of hatred, fear, compassion and understanding. The movie portrays interactions between people of different races and some of the same race, causing tension and racial slurs. The movie illustrates that whenever race is an issue conflict in communication is inevitable. Communication through facial expressions/gestures is the only form that does not seem to have a racial barrier.
Communication is an important factor in everyday life. However, in the movie, crash communication between the individuals created misunderstanding aggravated by racial differences. This is displayed right away in the first seen where two cars crash. Ria, a Puerto Rican detective who was driving her car, was rear-ended by an Asian woman. The following argument ensued, (Haggis, 2004)
Motorcycle Cop: Calm down, ma'am.
Kim Lee: I am calm.
Motorcycle Cop: I need to see your registration and insurance.
Kim Lee: Why? Not my fault! It's her fault! She do this!
Ria: [approaching] My fault?
Motorcycle Cop: Ma'am, you really need to wait in your vehicle.
Ria: [approaching] My fault?
Kim Lee: Stop in the middle of street! Mexicans! No know how to drive! Sheblake too fast Ria: “I /bleik/ too fast, I /bleik/ too fast? I’m sorry, you no 'sE my /bleik/ lights?
Motorcycle Cop: [to Ria] Ma'am...
Ria: [to Kim Lee] See, I stop when I see long line of cars stop in front of me. Maybe you 'sE over steering wheel, you /bleik/ too.”
Motorcycle Cop: [to Ria] Ma'am...
Ria: Officer, can you please write down in your report how shocked I am to behit by an Asian driver?
Kim Lee: I [kawl] [Im-i-gley-shuhn] on you!
Instead of resolving the issue this turned into a racial conflict which did not need to happen. The one constant through the whole argument was the facial expressions and hand gestures by both women, you could clearly see by the way they were both acting that they were upset which reinforces the premise that expressions and actions are not exclusive to race when it comes to communication.
The next scene is an argument between a Persian man, his daughter and a racist gun dealer in which race causes conflict for the characters. (Haggis, 2004)
Dorri: [to Farhad] Go, wait in the car.
Farhad: [to Dirk] You are ignorant man!
Dirk: I'm ignorant. You're liberating my country, and I'm flying seven forty-sevens into your mud huts and incinerating my friends. Get the fuck out of my store! –
Farhad: I am not yelling! I am upset!
In this scene both men used facial expressions to display, their anger with each other as well has hand gestures to show excitement and anger. (Sole, 2011)Dorri responds to this after her father exits in an assertive yet non-aggressive style.
Communication by gestures and facial expressions is depicted on the scene where Anthony and his friend Peter, both black American youth, forcibly took the car of an uptown couple, Jean and Rick. Rick is the L.A. District Attorney and Jean is his wife. In this scene actions spoke louder than words as the scene unfolds jean notices the young men and moves closer to Rick like she is afraid this physical gesture is noticed by Anthony right away but jean had good reason to be afraid because Anthony and Peter carjacked them at gun point. The fear in the face of Rick and Jean was very apparent and with the gestures of the guns and the actions of the youth, it was apparent that they were serious.
We move quickly through to a scene with Jean, Rick and a Hispanic man named Daniel changing their house locks. Jean’s racial prejudices clearly have escalated after the carjacking. When Daniel changes the locks to her house, she demands the locks be changed again the next day. She thought Daniel would keep an extra copy of their house key. (Haggis, 2004) Jean: Oh really? And he's not gonna go sell our key to one of his gang banger friends the moment he is out our door? Now I am telling you, your amigo in there is gonna sell our key to one of his homies and this time would you act like you gave a shit.
Jeans actions and her expressions clearly display her emotions at the time of this incident and the only reason for this conflict was the fact that Daniel was Hispanic. (Sole, 2011)Jean uses an aggressive communication style when dealing with Rick; she dominates the conversation and is very forceful and demanding.
An emotional part of the film is when Christine an uptown African American woman is molested by Officer Ryan after she and her husband, Cameron are pulled over for performing oral sex on her husband while he was driving them home. Christine becomes very angry with her husband for standing by and doing nothing when the officer molested her. (Haggis, 2004)
Cameron: I mean, sooner or later, you gotta find out what it's really like to be black.
Christine: Oh, fuck you man! Like you'd know! The closest you ever came to being black, Cameron, was watching "The Cosby Show". Thank you mista Police man, you’ve been mighty kind to us black folk!
Cameron: Yeah, well, at least I wasn't watching it with the rest of the equestrian team.
In this scene race has even started a new conflict between two people of the same race. (Sole, 2011)The feeling and emotions of hurt and anger escalate as the conversation moves forward. The facial expressions and gestures remain consistent with the rest of the characters in the film.
Later in the film, Officer Ryan and Christine will meet again when Christine has a roll over in her vehicle. This scene starts with Ryan running to the overturned vehicle to free a woman who is trapped inside when Christine realizes it is Ryan she starts screaming and fighting him telling him to get away from her, she does not want his help. Ryan must convince her that it is truly a matter of life and death and then they start to work together. When the vehicle starts on fire officer Ryan refuses to leave without freeing Christine and saving her life. The emotion and compassion that is seen here through expression is amazing. This scene also showed us that even though conflict is inevitable it can be overcome in times of adversity.
A touching part of the film that displays the facial expression and gesture aspect of communication in a tender way is when Daniel, the locksmith, tells his daughter the following story: (Haggis, 2004)
Lara: How far can bullets go?
Daniel: They go pretty far but they usually get stuck in something and stop.
Lara: What if they don't?
Daniel: Are you thinking about that bullet that came through your window?
Daniel goes on to tell his daughter about a fairy to make her feel safe. (Haggis, 2004)
Daniel: She had these little stubby wings, like she could've glued them on, you know, like I'm gonna believe she's a fairy. So she said, "I'll prove it." So she reaches into her backpack and she pulls out this invisible cloak and she ties it around my neck and she tells me that it's impenetrable. You know what impenetrable means? It means nothing can go through it. No bullets, nothing. She told me that if I wore it, nothing would hurt me. So I did. And my whole life, I never got shot, stabbed, nothing I mean, how weird is that?
In this scene Daniel, display loving emotion by his actions and the compassionate and caring expression on his face. (Sole, 2011)Daniel is also showing emotional intelligence by understanding his daughter’s feelings and responding in a way to put her mind at ease. As the movie makes a full circle heading back to the beginning, we find that emotions and attitudes change Jean shows Maria her Hispanic housekeeper gratitude and calls her “her closest friend.” Farhad display amazement and happiness when he accidently shoots Daniels daughter in an altercation and thanks to the fact that Dorri had bought blanks nothing happened to Lara. Now Farhad believe Lara is an angel sent to protect him. In addition, Anthony the hoodlum despite his hatred for white people frees a bunch of Asian slaves. In conclusion, this very dramatic movie reiterates the fact that in communication some aspects like facial expressions and gestures are universal. Although conflict is inevitable especially when race is involved, it can be overcame in times of adversity for the better good. Without compassion, understanding and patience, communication can be difficult and heated, but when push really comes to shove human decency prevails and people can communicate properly and help each other.


Haggis, P. (Director). (2004). Crash [Motion Picture].
Sole, K. (2011). Making Connections: Understanding Interpersonal Communications . San Diego, Ca. : Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

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