Metascore
69

Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. Reviewed by: Stephen Hunter
    Feb 15, 2011
    100
    This is the rare American film really about something, and almost all the performances are riveting.
  2. Reviewed by: David Denby
    Feb 15, 2011
    100
    Hyper-articulate and often breathtakingly intelligent and always brazenly alive. I think it's easily the strongest American film since Clint Eastwood's "Mystic River," though it is not for the fainthearted.
  3. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    Feb 15, 2011
    100
    Not just one of the best Hollywood movies about race, but, along with "Collateral," one of the finest portrayals of contemporary Los Angeles life period.
  4. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Feb 15, 2011
    100
    The stunning, must-see drama Crash is proof that words have not lost the ability to shock in our anesthetized society.
  5. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Feb 15, 2011
    100
    Haggis writes with such directness and such a good ear for everyday speech that the characters seem real and plausible after only a few words. His cast is uniformly strong; the actors sidestep cliches and make their characters particular.
  6. Reviewed by: Steve Davis
    Feb 15, 2011
    100
    It's the most compelling American movie to come around in a long, long time.
  7. Reviewed by: Robert Wilonsky
    Feb 15, 2011
    90
    What makes Crash so gripping--so terrifying in spots, so moving in others, and even a little funny at times--is how nothing happens as we think it will.
  8. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Feb 15, 2011
    88
    Flaws are outweighed by Crash's intricate construction and intelligent.
  9. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Feb 15, 2011
    88
    The acting is dynamite, notably by Dillon and Newton in their shocking second encounter. Despite its preachy moments, the film is a knockout.
  10. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Feb 15, 2011
    88
    Crash fools around with chronology in a Tarantinoesque way that brings its story full circle. You could argue that as events, and people, merge, Haggis' spiky screenplay (cowritten with Bobby Moresco) gets to be, quite simply, too much.
  11. Reviewed by: Michael Wilmington
    Feb 15, 2011
    88
    Like Robert Altman's "Short Cuts," it is an all-star fresco, but the stars--none of whom carries the movie--get to play the kind of morally ambivalent, sometimes unlikable parts that big-name actors usually avoid.
  12. Reviewed by: Ken Tucker
    Feb 15, 2011
    80
    It's a film you won't stop thinking about, arguing over, debating, after the lights come up.
  13. Reviewed by: Simon Braund
    Feb 15, 2011
    80
    A haunting, perceptive and uncompromising examination of controversial subject matter, expertly written and directed by Paul Haggis and characterised by excellent performances from its starry cast.
  14. Reviewed by: Jonathan Rosenbaum
    Feb 15, 2011
    80
    Pivots on the characters' racism and xenophobia, playing tricks with our own biases and ultimately justifying an extravagant array of coincidences and surprises.
  15. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Feb 15, 2011
    75
    Unfortunately, the running time is too short for us to get to know, or care about, the characters in a way that would make the film's themes strike a responsive chord.
  16. Reviewed by: Rick Groen
    Feb 15, 2011
    75
    The result is a film where blisteringly naturalistic drama bumps up against sentimentally arch melodrama (that's the biggest collision in Crash). Haggis showed the same tendency in his script for "Million Dollar Baby," yet there it was better hidden under a simpler narrative. Here, the tendency has gotten magnified right along with his thematic ambitions.
  17. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Feb 15, 2011
    75
    Never reaches the heights of "Short Cuts" or "Magnolia" -- two multi-story films that clearly provided inspiration -- but it's a thoughtful road trip well worth taking.
  18. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Feb 15, 2011
    70
    The tense drama eventually becomes off-putting when it becomes clear almost every scene hinges on an unpleasant or ugly racial interaction.
  19. Reviewed by: Joanne Kaufmann
    Feb 15, 2011
    70
    Ultimately, Crash succeeds in spite of itself. Its color war starts to feel obvious and schematic. Its coincidences and clich├ęs become like a pileup on the 405 freeway, but there it is -- you find yourself rubbernecking and can't manage to look away.
  20. 67
    Crash can't rise from the ashes of its pessimism.
  21. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Feb 15, 2011
    63
    Its characters come straight from the assembly line of screenwriting archetypes, and too often they act in ways that archetypes, rather than human beings, do. You can feel its creator shuttling them here and there on the grid of greater LA, pausing portentously between each move.
  22. Reviewed by: Michael Atkinson
    Feb 15, 2011
    60
    Full of well-observed supporting riffs, Crash might've accumulated more frisson had it cast a clearer eye on how social tension actually plays.
  23. Reviewed by: Stanley Kauffmann
    Feb 15, 2011
    60
    Haggis has made a safe picture. It is familiar enough that it slips easily into our film-watching faculty without any fuss, yet his handling of it--his muscular belief in what he is doing--makes us hope that his next screenplay will be a bit less safe.
  24. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Feb 15, 2011
    60
    Haggis, who wrote the fine adapted screenplay for "Million Dollar Baby," embeds Crash's script so deeply in allegory that every revelation feels manipulative and programmatic, in spite of some terrific individual scenes and performances.
  25. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Feb 15, 2011
    50
    In the end, Crash lacks a cumulative impact. It takes audiences to new places, but we've all been to similar places, and we walk out knowing no more than we did walking in.
  26. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    Feb 15, 2011
    50
    It's too bad that the movie induces eyeball-rolling almost as much as it does armrest-clutching.
  27. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Feb 15, 2011
    50
    These interlocking stories don't move along as swiftly or as urgently as they should, and much of the dialogue thumps along on square wheels.
  28. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Feb 15, 2011
    50
    So what kind of a movie is Crash? A frustrating movie: full of heart and devoid of life; crudely manipulative when it tries hardest to be subtle; and profoundly complacent in spite of its intention to unsettle and disturb.
  29. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    Feb 15, 2011
    50
    It might even have been a landmark film about race relations had its aura of blunt realism not been dispelled by a toxic cloud of dramaturgical pixie dust.
  30. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Feb 15, 2011
    50
    Almost certain to polarize audiences, this bit of emotional agitprop plays like a watered-down "Short Cuts" or "Magnolia" with a shrill, one-note message: We're all a little bit racist.
  31. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    Feb 15, 2011
    50
    An ambitious, intense, but overdetermined exploration of the varieties of ethnic intolerance.
  32. Reviewed by: Carina Chocano
    Feb 15, 2011
    50
    Any glimpse of emotional honesty comes courtesy of the actors, who manage to do a credible job despite the material.
  33. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    Feb 15, 2011
    50
    A well-intentioned but obvious, often clumsy picture.
  34. Reviewed by: Michael Sragow
    Feb 15, 2011
    50
    New York critics have anointed Crash in advance as the Second Coming, but it's just another over-ambitious first movie.
  35. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Feb 15, 2011
    42
    The result is a hybrid of "Falling Down" and "Short Cuts" without the iconic central character of the former or the latter's clear-eyed humanism.
  36. Reviewed by: Jami Bernard
    Feb 15, 2011
    40
    Concludes in a shower of ashes, which is fitting because this movie is a billowing bonfire of ugly human behavior. Rarely have there been so many characters in need of timeouts, cold showers or house arrests.
User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 283 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 17 out of 144
  1. Feb 23, 2011
    4
    I think the negative reviewers are a little harsh, I wouldn't call it racist by any stretch of the imagination. But cliched as all hell? Yeah. This is typical hollywood masquerading, trying to be deep and meaningful. Lacks Robert Altmans subtle weird humanism in Short Cuts. Plagued by white guilt, the movie runs the complicated issue of race through Hollywoods dreaded machinery of doom, leaving just scraps of brilliant acting and dialogue submerged in a mire of annoyingly coincidental plotpoints. Full Review »
  2. Sep 27, 2011
    8
    "Crash", a racial movie directed by the famous Paul Haggis, is a masterpiece. With a powerhouse cast with a good lead from the director, the movie starts with pain and anger and triumphantly ends with love and forgiveness. It surely is one of the greatest movies i've seen currently these days. Full Review »
  3. RBerens
    Jun 13, 2005
    2
    If you're making a movie that positions itself as "hard-edged realism," it's probably best to avoid an excess of dramatic contrivance and coincidence. I lost count at about 65. This movie just plain sucked. Full Review »