Released 2004 (Canada; 2005 in the USA)
American, in English (some Persian, both translated and not; minimal non-translated other languages)
Director – Paul Haggis
Stars – Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon, Thandie Newton, Sandra Bullock, and many others
It’s a bunch of intertwined stories about race relations in Los Angeles. Cheadle stars as Det. Graham Waters; Dillon as Officer John Ryan; Newton as Christine Thayer; and Bullock as Jean Cabot.
Tons of blue language (including practically every racial slur imaginable); violence; heavily implied sexy times; non-consensual sexual touch; and brief female nudity (breasts only).
Watching this movie is like being bludgeoned for two hours. That is to say, it overstates its case. If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that I dislike movies that lack subtlety. This movie has no subtlety whatsoever. Literally none. Zero. To me, racism is a very serious topic. It requires a serious discussion. I don’t believe that this movie is a part of that discussion. It’s like an afterschool special, trying to show you the evils of racism in the most overblown way possible. It’s ridiculous.
It thinks very highly of itself, like it’s so clever and edgy. “Oh, look at us, nice girl Sandy Bullock plays a mean racist! We say the n-word a lot! We totally deserve an Oscar!” Apparently the Academy agreed.
I don’t like movies that rely too heavily on coincidences. For example, [SPOILER] I simply don’t believe that the cop who molested a lady at a traffic stop would happen to be at the right place at the right time the following day to save her life. I also don’t believe that his partner would happen to be at the right place at the right time in a different situation to save her husband [SPOILER]. I’m not capable of suspending my disbelief that far.
I enjoyed the performances of Cheadle, Dillon and Michael Pena (as Daniel Ruiz).
As most of you know, I loathe this movie. I saw it when it came out in the theater and thought it was dreadful. I was open to changing my mind. Perhaps, I thought, I was in a bad mood the day I saw it.
Nope. This movie is dreadful. It’s two hours of people hurling racial epithets at each other. Nearly everyone in the film is a raging a-hole. (The only likable character is Daniel Ruiz and the movie tries to tug at your heartstrings even more by giving him an adorable daughter, which was unnecessary because the character was plenty likable without her). It’s unpleasant. To me, it feels like a bunch of actors play-acting at being racist in a very obvious bid for an Oscar. Also, the dialogue is terrible (and not just because of all the racial slurs).
The whole thing is a hot mess. I don’t know why you would watch it. I don’t think that you should. Want to see a great Best Picture winner about racism? Try In the Heat of the Night.
I give the movie 1 star.