‘Crash’ 15 Years Later: Remembering a Truly Terrible, Award-Winning Movie

It didn’t deserve the praise it got in 2005, and it’s aged even worse

Tirhakah Love
LEVEL
Published in
7 min readMay 7, 2020

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Photo: Lionsgate Production Company

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From its opening moments, watching Crash is like reading your first Tumblr think piece. “It’s the sense of touch,” says Detective Graham Waters (Don Cheadle). “Any real city, you walk, you’re bumped, brush past people. In L.A., no one touches you. We’re always behind metal glass. Think we miss that touch so much, we crash into each other just to feel something.” It’s like a rapper saying “get it?” after a middling punchline, a flailing swing at cleverness that should have told us everything we needed to know about what was about to unfold.

Sure, densely populated cities like Los Angeles break along racial and cultural lines; that part of Detective Waters fake-deep take on “touch” is true. But director Paul Haggis’ meditation on race and bigotry, which hit U.S. theaters 15 years ago this week, seems to mistake contact for intimacy.

If anything, Crash is too touchy — so heavy-handed that, over the course of its near two-hour run, the story it attempts to tell hardly even matters. The ease with which Haggis stereotypes and…

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Tirhakah Love
LEVEL
Writer for

African from Texas• Staff Writer at LEVEL • Black politics, Celebrity interviews, TV & Film Criticism • Previously: MTV News, San Francisco Chronicle