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Screenwriter Paul Haggis ("Million Dollar Baby") makes an impressive directorial debut with a telescoping deliberation on American race prejudices as viewed through a lens of day-to-day life in the melting pot of Los Angeles. Haggis rivals Robert Altman's nimble ability to balance numerous characters across a broad narrative canvas. Multiple story threads intertwine around a racist cop (Matt Dillon) and his honest partner (Ryan Phillippe), a duo of black car thieves (Larenz Tate and Chris "Ludacris" Bridges), a Los Angeles District Attorney (Brendan Fraser), his thin-skinned wife Jean (Sandra Bullock) and a sexist police detective (Don Cheadle). Promising hotshot actor-of-the-moment Terrence Howard is outstanding as Cameron Thayer a successful television director whose dignity is challenged by his high-maintenance wife (Thandie Newton) and the fascist demands of his social milieu. "Crash" is a provocative drama that aligns with the socially conscious American theatrical dramaturgy of the '30s and '40s. Special features include an audio commentary track with co-writer/producer/director Haggis, co-writer/producer Moresco and actor/producer Don Cheadle, a behind-the-scenes featurette and a music video for Kansascali's "If I..." Aspect ratio is 2.35:1, with sound quality rendered in choice of Dolby Digital 5.1 or 2.0. Movie - Four Stars, DVD features - Two Stars) Rated R, 100 mins. (Lion's Gate Entertainment)

September 25, 2005 | Permalink