Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Main protagonists in Crash

Crash has an all star cast, who are all from different ethnic minorities however they are all prejudiced in some way. The director tries to convey their prejudice by showing the different situations they are involved in and how they are treated. As an audience we also understand why they are treated differently…mostly because of the colour of their skin or the way the characters present themselves. I.e. a Mexican locksmith is not trusted by an attorney’s wife because of his appearance – shaven head and tattoos…but in reality he is a family man who is not involved in criminal activities.


Sandra Bullock plays Jean Cabot
Jean Cabot is Rick's wife, whose racial prejudices escalate after the carjacking. At the end of the film, following an accident in her home, she realizes that the person who is the nicest and most helpful to her is Maria, her Hispanic maid, while her snobby friends are too busy with shallow pursuits (such as getting a massage) to help her out.





Brendan Fraser plays Rick Cabot
Rick Cabot is the white District Attorney of L.A. He and his wife Jean are carjacked by Anthony and Peter, both of whom are black. Subsequently, the Brentwood resident tries to save his political career by reassuring voters that he is racially sensitive (as he is a Democrat and African Americans and Hispanics are his key constituents). His character is never depicted as a bigot*, which makes his racial stance ambiguous.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges plays Anthony

Anthony is an African-American inner-city car thief who steals vehicles for a bigoted* chop shop owner. He believes that society is unfairly biased against blacks, and at one point in the film he justifies his actions by saying he would never hurt another black person. Yet, after he and Peter try to carjack a car driven by a black man Cameron, and when Cameron attacks Anthony during the carjacking, Anthony's response is to call on Peter to shoot Cameron. After the carjacking produces a tense standoff that is barely resolved, a disgusted Cameron kicks Anthony out of his car and says "You embarrass me. You embarrass yourself." Anthony steals a van full of illegal immigrants from South East Asia towards the end of the movie. Anthony frequently refers to these immigrants as chinamen and upon learning that the owner of the chop shop that buys the stolen vehicles intends to sell them off as slaves; he releases all of them out onto the streets of LA in the closing scenes of the movie. Anthony then gives them all of the money that was in his pocket, $40



Larenz Tate plays Peter Waters
Peter Waters is Anthony's friend and partner in crime. Like Anthony, he is black, but he humorously mocks at Anthony's paranoia over racism. The only character killed throughout all of the film's near-tragedies, Peter is shot to death by Officer Hansen, who picks him up in the valley hours after their failed carjacking of Cameron's SUV and mistakenly shoots him after assuming he is drawing a gun, when in reality he is reaching into his pocket to show the cop a figure of Saint Christopher. The irony of the situation is that Peter and Officer Hansen are portrayed as those characters least suspected of racism and stereotypes up to that point.
Terrence Howard plays Cameron Thayer
Cameron Thayer is a black television director who becomes distraught after witnessing Officer Ryan molesting his wife and realizing that the very show he produces is propagating racist stereotypes about black people. In an emotional moment, he fights off Anthony and Peter when they try to steal his car, takes away Anthony's gun, and gets himself into a harsh argument with armed white police officers. Just when it is very likely that he will be shot to death, Officer Hansen intervenes on his behalf and prevents any outbreak of violence.

Thandie Newton plays Christine Thayer
Christine Thayer is Cameron's wife. She is molested by Officer Ryan after she and Cameron are pulled over. She becomes furious with her husband because he does not act to defend her. The two insult each other over their upbringings as both Cameron and Christine have grown up in a more privileged environment than other African Americans. The next day she is trapped in an overturned car due to a highway accident and, by an exquisite twist of fate, Officer Ryan is the man who willingly endangers himself to save her life.


Matt Dillon plays Officer John Ryan
Officer John Ryan is a bigoted* white police officer who physically molests Christine Thayer, a black woman, during a traffic stop. This causes his partner, Officer Hansen, to believe his partner has racist tendencies. Ryan later works with a newly-assigned, Hispanic - American whom he seems to get along with but mockingly asks "ready to roll, homie". Ryan later puts his own life on the line to save Christine from certain death in a fiery car wreck, which is unexpected because he is considered among the film's most prejudiced characters.

Ryan Phillippe plays Officer Tom Hansen

Officer Tom Hansen is Officer Ryan's partner who is disgusted by his partner's racism and the city's inaction. Remembering Cameron as the husband of Christine, Hansen saves Cameron during his confrontation with the police. However, he later picks up a hitchhiker who turns out to be Peter. They engage in a racially tense conversation, and when Peter reaches for what Hansen suspects is a weapon, Hansen draws his gun and shoots Peter. Hansen dumps the body and burns his car in an attempt to hide evidence. This is one of the most surprising developments in the film, as Officer Hansen begins as one of the least bigoted*, most righteous characters.
*Bigoted =a prejudiced person who is intolerant of opinions, lifestyles, or identities differing from his or her own

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