India Uncut

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Monday, February 27, 2006


Despite buying around 50 DVDs during my travels through Pakistan, I hadn't actually seen a single film this year until yesterday, when I finally returned to Mumbai from Baroda. My DVD player is misbehaving these days, and we went off to Fame Malad to watch "Crash." We could hardly have made a better choice.

"Crash," directed by Paul Haggis, is an ensemble film, with various interweaving storylines, much like Robert Altman's "Nashville" (which I loved) and "Short Cuts" (which didn't live up to my expectations from reading the stories and seeing Altman's previous work), but crisper, tauter, and more packed with emotion. There are some remarkable set pieces in the film, and continuous build-ups and releases of dramatic tension. There isn't a wasted moment through it all, and characters are established with both economy and depth, sparking both recognition and introspection. The cinematography and the background score are wonderful, expressive but unindulgent.

The theme of the film is how we tend to stay cocooned in our own little worlds, and are suspicious of those outside it. All the characters in this film crash through those barriers, and are forced to re-evaluate themselves and the worlds they inhabit. "Crash" has been praised as being an acute picture of race in America, but like all great films, it speaks to everyone, and to the condition we all share.

I won't elaborate much on plot -- this is not meant to be a review -- but do go out and watch the film. It's outstanding.

PS: Here are reviews of "Crash" by David Denby and Roger Ebert.
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