Opening 4 Aug 2005
Paul Haggis (screenwriter of Million Dollar Baby) wrote, produced and directed this multiple-tale film set in Los Angeles and starring a cast that includes Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon, Brendan Fraser, Thandie Newton and many more.
The film opens with detective Graham Waters (Cheadle) commenting on the fact that there is little contact between people in the city. They are separated by metal and glass. Sometimes crashes are needed to establish a connection. The characters in the story are as varied as the circumstances under which their paths cross, clash and – in the extreme case – crash. Their reactions are both predictable and unpredictable. Prejudice is frequently at the forefront when given time to manifest itself, yet, as often as not, disappears in an emergency. Fear is the energy driving most of the characters’ behaviour, yet the source of the fear can be anything: the fear of being considered a racist; fear for loved ones; fear of death; fear of pain; fear that everyone is out to rip you off. The emotional smorgasbord is heavily laden.
At first, the focus does seem to be on prejudice based on race or nationality. In the end, however, one could consider it a focus on behavioural reactions that apply across the board. We see our own patterns reflected in the characters and realise that we too are often unaware of why we do what we do. There is plenty of meat for discussion after seeing this movie. As with the critics, the public will probably either love it or hate it. Few could remain indifferent. The performances all round are very good and the script excellent. (Osanna Vaughn)