Monthly Archives: May 2005
Crash (and burn – an aptly titled film)
Art should tell us something we don’t know; not rub our faces in what is obvious. Crash never rises above the dreary act of regurgitating (albeit expensively and with great actors) what we are constantly reminded about in television news coverage. We live in a racist, sexist, classist society. Ok Thanks, but what do you have t say about it. Where is the art in your work where is the bravery in your sharing. What indescribable or haunting truth are you striving to tell us? Or did you just want to minutely inflame race relations and the go home and cash your studio paycheck?
Compare this to another recent film that had race and cultural observations as its vehicle, “Coach Carter.” When I walked out of that film I was changed. I looked at African American cultural differently. I was taken somewhere in my consciousness that I had not been to before, and I was shown a different world. That is one of the joys and powers of art.
Crash unfortunately is not about art but rather it is about imitating the same old crap that is going on around us all the time, And no matter how well that is done, it is hardly imaginative. Haggis had a potentially good film idea but fails to capitalize and instead delivers a bleak dreary snapshot or a very real Los Angeles with maudlin, Hallmark moments that never bring the film beyond the level of being a crash at the side of the freeway that we know we shouldn’t but can’t help turning our heads to stare at.
This is what film making can be. Visual art. Story telling. Try to understand, it’s not the story, it’s how you tell it. This was magnificent story telling. Sin city is art if you agree that the difference between an illustration and art is that an illustration is ABOUT something and art IS something.
Even the violence worked perfectly. This was not violence for the sake of violence (e.g. ala Bruckheimer.) Nor was it romanticized violence (ala Scorsese.) No this was violence as art, like the violence of Spanish painter Goya.
This movie proves that graphic novels can be brought to cinematic life. Rodriguez has done what others efforts like, the Crow, The Mask, Batman franchise, League of extraordinary… and so many others have sought and failed to accomplish; to capture the magic the reader experiences when pouring through and exceptional graphic novel.
My question is who will bring the Sandman series to life with this degree of expertise? Or the work’s of Dave Mckean? Imagine a movie based his Arkham Asylum. Or even the original and historically influential graphic novel by Frank Miller, Dark Knight. There are many beautiful visual stories waiting to be told. Let’s all hope more filmmakers follow in the footsteps of Rodriguez and company.