Crash, this year’s Monster’s Ball, continues Hollywood’s fascination with congratulating itself on its insight, tolerance, and diversity. I am reminded of Michael Wood’s take on The Oxbow Incident, in which Hollywood was ready to condemn lynching as long as the victims were innocent. Wood’s point was that the courageous story would have been to come out against the lynching of someone who deserved it.
Face it, one fatal flaw with Crash is that no cop, not even a Neanderthal one, would ever have molested Thandie Newton. She’s just too beautiful, too privileged, too upper class. Cops may resent the wealthy, but they know better than to provoke them. (While I’m at it, Hallie Berry would never have lasted as a waitress in Monster’s Ball. She might have applied for the job, but within ten minutes she would have had a better offer.) And when the cop is Matt Dillon, whose thug-with-a-heart-of-gold shtick has drained his face of any sincerity, Hollywood has stacked the deck in favor of his and, by extension, their ultimate redemption.
Do you need multi-millionaire movie stars telling you that racism is bad? Are there still filmgoers who think that racism is good? It’s like coming out against cancer–who could argue with you? Who would bother?
Now that Hollywood has pointed out to everyone how committed it is to making noble, worthy films, it can go back to making money with stuff like Saw III or Another Tyler Perry Fat Lady Movie. And the rest of America can go back to ignoring Crash, just like it did when the movie was originally released.