An Analysis of the Crush Movie Directed by Paul Haggis
The Crush movie largely portrays racism and the extremes that people go to manifest their prejudices. The setting of the story is in Los Angeles. Haggis has lived in the City for over three decades, and he used the movie to portray the extent the racist nature of the Los Angeles residents. In his view, the racism is usually fueled by deeply entrenched stereotypes that the residents have condoned as the benchmark of judging people’s character over the years. The movie brings out the aspect of bigotry that exists in the society along the lines of class and ethnicity. The races represented are the Asians, Latinos, blacks, whites, Iranians and Koreans.
The director correctly points out that stereotyping is to be blamed for the situation in our society in as far as racism is concerned. Heilbroner (45) concurs with Haggis observation by stating that we not only grow up hearing stereotypical remarks all around us but that even as adults, we cannot escape coming into contact with them. He noted that stereotypes mostly propagated by people in the form of jokes and the mass media through newspapers, films and television.
According to Heilbroner, the ugly effects of the stereotypes are the way people end up substituting them for other critical ways of acquiring knowledge such as observation. In his view, people use stereotypes as a shortcut to making judgments about people’s behavior. He further observed People rely on stereotypes to generalize people’s behaviors instead of treating them as unique and special individuals.
Paul Haggis brings out this aspect perfectly in his film through his characters. He uses different stylistic devices such as coincidence, and fate to bring out the issues. The plot revolves around four different storylines. In one of the scenes we see the district attorney and his white (Sandra Bullock) wife who is quite racist; the two appear to be from an upper class according to their dressing code. The wife gets scared when she spots two black around the corner looking at them suspiciously. The black men are Ludacris and his companion larenze Tate, who impersonate Anthony and Peter in the movie. She quickly grabs her husband’s hand and expresses her fear that the black men intend to steal from them. The men are well aware of the woman’s racist opinions.
They confirm her suspicions and go ahead to steal their car from them. In another scene we see that jean is still holding on to her racist beliefs when she is suspicious that Daniel, the locksmith that they have hired to replace their lock, could have ill motives. She feared that he might go to give his fellow Hispanic immigrants the spare key to their lock. She imagined that the locksmith was part of a gang and that a theft attack was in the offing for them.
In another scene, however, we see the locksmith as a caring family man who consoles his terrified daughter. In another scenario, there is a black couple driving on the highway, they are stopped by a racist cop who mistakes the light skinned woman for a white woman. He is ruthless towards her as he conducts a body search on her to the chagrin of his fellow officer who just stares on. The husband is too afraid to defend her because the police were armed.
In another scene, we see the hostile police officer nursing his ailing father. In yet another scene, we see Faroud, an Iranian immigrant who goes to buy a gun with his daughter but the shopkeeper, who strongly is prejudiced against Arabs, mistakes them for Arabs and treats them disrespectfully. The Iranian man later invites the Hispanic locksmith to repair the door of his shop, and they disagree when the locksmith advices him to replace the door as well for a better security measure. Later when thieves broke into the shop and vandalized it, the Iranian’s suspicions were heightened. He was filled with vengeance for the locksmith who he suspected was the mastermind behind the theft.
The last scene shows a hardworking detective who finds a young black American murder victim that he recognizes and an injured police officer in a murder scene. Apparently, the policeman had been involved in similar shootouts before where he ends up killing a black person. The killing was another case where we see that racism has permeated the law and justice system. The movie depicts police officers as being biased towards certain races other than their own.
The director meant to satirize the issues that the society has been perpetrating over the years. He gives viewers an opportunity to step back and look at themselves from an objective perspective. However, critics have argued that Paul was more inclined towards exonerating the whites and providing excuses for their racist tendencies as compared to the other races (Goyette 1). The situation is apparent when he explains that Jean was prejudiced towards the black youths who carjacked their car due to her depressed state. Nevertheless, the movie ends as the characters wake up to their senses and realize that racism is wrong and that there is no need to distrust someone due to their race.
Heilbroner, L. Robert, ‘Don’t let stereotypes warp your judgements’, Readers Digest, 6th June 1990, 45-47, Print.
Goyette, Tori, White Power: An Analysis of Racial Tensions in Crash, Open Journal Systems, 2011, Web, 25th, October, 2012,