Paul Haggis’s 2004 Film “Crash”

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Paul Haggis’s 2004 film “Crash” is a depiction of the racial and societal tensions that arise in the diverse suburbia of American society. This film gives us an intriguing look at the preconceptions that are ingrained into our society. And portrays the racial stereotypes that are found in all people, regardless of race or ethnic background. Paul Haggis uses several film techniques in this picture in order to engage and immerse the viewer in an in-depth analysis of each character. From the introduction of the film, we are introduced to hazed camera shots on the screen, which helps viewers speculate how each character had a disoriented perspective onlook on the world. Haggis also utilizes close up shots to portray the emotional landscape within the actor’s faces, which serves to help the viewer identify more with the character and the grand scene of the situation. 

All of the characters presented in this adaption carry within themselves some kind of prejudice or suffers from the effects of others misconceptions of race or social background. Furthermore, Haggis seeks to show that all people are flawed and it is very little in this world that is black and white. Each of these characters in this film holds undesirable characteristics as well as redeemable properties, which helps viewers understand the complexity behind all of the characters traits. Through these qualities presented within each character, we can understand how Haggis has created characters that draw similarities to the real world that we can connect with emphatically. This film also helps us build recognition as to how people can develop certain prejudices themselves in certain contexts and situations. 

 One of the first instances, where racism is portrayed in this movie, is when Sandra Bullock’s character known as Jean Cabot, becomes frightened after witnessing two young black men known as Peter and Anthony walking past her direction on the street. This scene helps us understand how Miss. Jean may have had some misconstrued conceptions about people of colour, which can be attributed to the underlying stereotypes laid forth in our society. A quote that perfectly encapsulates this scene is when Anthony mutters out to Peter that “ she got even colder as soon as she seen us”. 

My immediate reaction towards Jean was that she had fallen victim to believing in generalizations and stereotypes about minorities. Another example in which Jean Cabot had drawn prejudices towards certain ethnic groups is when Jean implies that the Hispanic locksmith known as Daniel was a gang member who would plan to sell the keys to her house to his friends.

However, her presumptions about Daniel prove to be mistaken as Daniel drops Rick and Jean’s house keys on their kitchen table just before leaving. Jeans superstitions about Hispanics are later contradicted when we learn that Daniel happens to be a kind-hearted man who wants the best for his 5-year-old daughter. From these scenes, we can conclude how many different ethnic groups are prescribed towards discriminatory stereotypes Another example in which racism was portrayed to reflect the social implications of today’s world, was when the character officer Ryan decided to disobey protocol and abruptly pull over a couple based on an account of them being black. 

Due to officer Ryan’s dominion and the racist implications of the justice system, he was able to abuse his power by sexually harassing Christine. This scene serves to portray the harsh realism that is innate in our society today. A study composed by the American Psychological Association supports this claim that officers exude a certain racial bias towards black motorists, by providing evidence that reveals that police officers disproportionately pull over black and Hispanic drivers during daylight hours compared to other ethnicities. This data helps us assimilate how minorities pertaining to different kinds of ethnic backgrounds are marginalized by law enforcement through being subjugated by being racially profiled. 

Another way in which this film mirrors the racial intolerance of the real world is when Mr Ryan tells a health clinic customer service representative under the name of Mrs Shaniqua that, “I can’t look at you without thinking of five or six more qualified white men that didn’t get your job”. This quote indicates to us that Mr Ryan has an un-partial bias towards minorities and implies that he believes that minorities have stolen jobs from a qualified white man. 

Officer Ryan also shows his racial discrepancy by stating that Mrs Shaniqua was very fortunate to be appointed in the position of her job due to the fact that she is African American. These social complications lay prevalent in our society today as a result of women from minorities being disproportionately employed in lower paying occupations, such as childcare, cleaning, nursing, and teaching. According to a report composed by the Center for the American Progress foundation, forty-three per cent of the 29.6 million women employed in America were placed in just 20 occupational categories where their median annual earnings average just a mere a 27,383 dollars. 

These statistics around social subjectivities furthermore reveal to us that structural racism is materialized in employment for women who are categorized in minority groups. Another illustration that exploits the racial tendencies that plague our nation is represented in the scene when Farhad attempts to purchase a weapon to protect his store against criminals but is scrutinized by the gunsmith through being implied that his own ethnic group was in charge of the outcome of nine eleven. However, these assertions that are made by the gunsmith contradicted, due to the fact that Farhad has no affiliation with the Jihad and that he happens to be from Persian descent as he is Iranian. 

In a movie film review constructed by Robert Ebert, he perfectly encapsulates this moment of surrealism by stating that, “ 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”. This quote conjointly helps us understand the potency of the implicit connotations that are projected in our society, and furthermore serves as a reminder of the impetuous presumptions that are applied in today’s world.

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Paul Haggis’s 2004 Film "Crash". (2021, Apr 24). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/paul-haggiss-2004-film-crash/

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