Crash features an extensive cast of characters whose lives intersect in powerful and sometimes dangerous ways. The movie focuses on the problem of racial intolerance. The first appearances of characters in the film invite us to establish our own prejudices toward them. But as is often true when we sink to prejudice, we discover that our first opinions about these characters are not sufficient; they're more complex people than we first thought, and they surprise us. The two articulate young African Americans arguing about why people stereotype them as violent actually turn out to be carjackers; the Mexican American locksmith accused of being a gangbanger turns out to be a loving father who works multiple shifts to pull his family out of a dangerous neighborhood; the Middle Eastern storeowner who seems to be victimized by others almost commits the most horrific violence in the film.
Virtually every character displays appalling prejudice at some point during the film. And most also display bravery, compassion, and wisdom. By challenging its audiences--and by exploring perhaps the most important continuing issue in America, racial prejudice--film writer and director Paul Haggis forces us all to confront the hatred and bigotry that is revealed in this film when people from different settings, who would normally keep themselves sealed behind glass and steel, "crash" into one another.