Monday, September 10, 2012

Monday Movie Moments: Crash

Welcome to a weekly feature here at Movies With Abe. There are great movies, and then there are great scenes. Ideally, the two come as a package deal, but sometimes there’s just a scene that’s memorable all by itself. Each week, I’ll be taking a look at a formative movie moment that may be notable for its style, content, technique, or something else altogether. Minor spoilers will be alluded to in each edition of the series, so please stop reading if you’ve somehow avoided seeing the movie in question.

This 2005 Best Picture winner is probably best remembered as the film that most believe should never have defeated frontrunner “Brokeback Mountain.” While Ang Lee’s portrait of forbidden love was heartfelt and beautifully-filmed, Paul Haggis’ ensemble drama doesn’t get nearly enough credit. This is one of those films where the large popcorn I enthusiastically purchased beforehand went almost entirely untouched, because devastating revelation after devastating revelation kept me from reaching into the bag. The marvelous complexity of interesting lives and moments is well-illustrated in this scene, in which Persian immigrant Farhad tracks down Daniel (Michael Pena), the locksmith who was working on fixing his store door a day earlier and pulls on a gun on him, demanding money after a break-in at his store as a result of his broken door cost him everything. As Daniel’s young daughter witnesses this from inside her home, she runs out to her father, bringing him the invisible cloak he told her about that keeps him safe from harm. There’s a moment of instant devastating grief as a shot rings out when she runs into his arms, immortalized by the image of Daniel crying out on one of the film’s posters. Because everything in the film is connected, she’s fine since Farhad’s daughter purchased blanks because she was against the idea of buying a gun. Therefore, the cloak worked, protecting Daniel, his daughter, and Farhad from an irreversible act. The film is full of such scenes, which to those unimpressed may seem overdone, but it’s hard to argue with their emotional impact.

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