There seems to be a trend in movie making nowadays where the film gives you a little bit of information and gets right to the story. At this point in time, we’ve pretty much seen all there is to see regarding genres and storylines, so we don’t need the coddling. I appreciate that as a film goer, I don’t want to be talked down to. However, in some cases I don’t think taking a few breaths in between would be a bad thing.
The Crash, a crime thriller directed by Aram Rappaport, is about an impending terrorist attack on the US stock market. The government and federal reserve seek solace from an inside trader who is about to face jail time, who has the chance to be the hero he once was. The line between criminal and hero is delicate, casting a lot of grey in the shadows of the major players involved. The characters are varied and expansive, allowing for all to be represented in one safe house.
It’s a lot to take in, as the plot and the situation can be lost on those who aren’t paying close attention. This isn’t to say that only the intelligent will like this film, but I do believe the appreciation for the film will grow on multiple viewings. It’s a smart movie, in the best way.
The film doesn’t waste time on plot or visuals. From the get-go, you know what you are in for. The use of intense music is effective in allowing the audience to know the stakes. The quick melodies and harsh tones gets your anxiety pumping, wanting a quick end to the devastating problem at hand. The lighting also helps with this by creating a rich hue of importance on the major participants. There are a lot of powerful positions involved, and each provide the right amount of dread.
These are all elements that have been used in thrillers before, and have been used expertly. It’s an interesting thought that someone set up these rules so long ago, but they are still relevant today. That’s not to say that this film stands out on it’s own, because it does. It’s a nice blending of monetary greed with internet activism. There was a guerrilla aspect through sound that helps connect the characters to the concreted ground of reality instead of the ivory towers above.
There are a lot a moving parts within the story, but the best parts are the characters, particularly the couple at the center, savior Guy Clifton (Frank Grillo) and his wife Shannon (Minnie Driver). This was a real couple, one with real issues they didn’t try to brush under their expensive rugs. True, there are times where it becomes tiring at realizing how much money they have, but it’s never expressed in attitudes. You see the heart of this couple.
For me, watching Driver as an empowered and strong wife, mother, business owner was a pleasant surprise. She wasn’t hiding in the wings or pretending her world wasn’t about to end (the possible imprisonment of her husband), instead she kept her shit together and went on with life. Her role may not have directly affected the plot of the movie, but without her the movie would be dramatically less than.
As much as Guy has messed up in his life, his wife will always be by his side. It’s not because she’s naive, but it’s because she’s a strong woman who can handle the truth. Grillo does a beautiful job in bringing the two sides of Guy forward without apologizing for the duality of his personality. He is a real person, one with triumphs and falls, and one who has to be reminded to pay attention to his family. He’s not perfect, and is the living example of existing in the grey, but at least he’s open about it. He knows what he did, and while he may play the deniability card, he knows, and you know he knows the truth. It’s an interesting way to have a hero inside a villain.
Along with Guy and Shannon, their daughter Creason (AnnaSophia Robb), and the family unit they form is also one that is refreshing to the witness. Creason is a teenager who is dealing with a form of cancer and trying to navigate through the misshapen world she now lives in. I’m not sure what the intention was to have a minor character have such an emotionally draining situation, but the fact that it didn’tdirectly affect the plot is a good thing. It’s a thing that people have in this world, and it’s interesting to see all walks of life represented. What she does do, as a character, is bring her parents back to center. We all need the people to bring us back home to who we truly are, and this movie proved that they don’t have to be perfect to be our shelter.
Political thrillers are sometimes a representation of the world we live in, and this possibility of a devastating threat is a black cloud circling around us at all times. This film does its job of providing a complicated story that brought forth a fear, yet also a cleansing, that I believe we need at this moment. With all it’s flaws and it’s rewards, The Crash is a political thriller you can’t stop watching.
The Crash opens in theaters and is available on VOD on January 13.
Written by Lisa Mejia
Images provided by Prodigy Public Relations