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THE CRASH FILM RECEPTION
Researchers have long explored readings and interpretations of visual media messages,
in particular, film and television in the audiences. One such area is cognitive responses of the
consumers to media messages. The audience members attempt to make sense of media texts, and
such interpretations are the result of constructions based on their particular perspectives.
Reception Study examines the audience and the media message to reveal the manner in
which an audience makes sense of a media text. This study also supports the notion of an open
media text or polysemic where various people differently decode messages encoded by the text
producer in a certain way. Below is a review of the Crash film in different ways.
The first analysis is by Robert Elbert. He says that Crash is a series of closely related
accounts of the African-Americans, Iranians, Koreans, whites, Latinos, the powerful and
powerless, the poor and the rich, criminals and police officers. Racism defines all these people
differently. Sometimes these people will overcome racism although it is usually difficult. The
lives of the characters are understood, but their behavior is unpredictable (Elbert).
Ebert argues that the assumptions of the people blind them so that they see their
colleagues as different from the actual persons they are. Although the Iranians are Persian,

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Shaun, who is an Iranian, is thought to be an Arab. Shaun and the white wife of Sandra Bullock,
the district attorney believes that Michael, a Mexican-American smith is a criminal and the
member of a gang. In the real sense, Michael is a family man (Elbert).
According to Elbert, Matt Dillon is the best performer in the movie. In the film, Matt is
extremely distressed over his father. He is a racist police officer who makes unnecessary traffic
stops whenever it strikes his mind that what that he is seeing is an African-American TV director
offending the traffic rules together with his white wife. However, he does not stop an AfricanAmerican or white couple. He goes further to humiliate the white woman by conducting an
invasive body search as her husband watches helplessly.
Elberts argument also concludes that, Crash is a film that highlights how people jump to
make conclusions based on race, regardless of their race or out of their fair-mindedness. People
pay a price for that assumption. The characters in the film learn things about themselves as they
bump into each other. The characters have better lives because of their previous experiences.
The second review is by Jensen and Wosnitzer, and they view the film as being white
supremacists. According to the duo, the primary theme of the film outlines that everyone is
prejudiced. Everybody assumes anyone from a different ethnic or racial group. They all carry
the ethnic or racial baggage packed with prolonged-stewing grievances, unfair stereotypes, crazy
fears and raw anger. Sometimes, people think they have made progress, but they constantly find
themselves caught in a very frustrating complex ethnic web from which they do not seem to get
untangled (Jensen and Wosnitzer)

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Some people, particularly the whites, can be uncomfortable both during and immediately
after viewing this film. The design of the film makes the white people feel superior. The film
allows the whites to evade their collective responsibilities for the white supremacies.
The characters in Crash are complex with a diverse collection of flaws. According to
Jensen and Wosnitzer, films should not enhance the political points by using one-dimensional
caricatures. These types of political films seldom assist in understanding the political and
personal struggles.
Jensen and Wosnitzer argue that Crash is not a racist movie because it uses overtly racist
stereotypes. The movie does not show the white characters as always uniformly good. A large
number of the whites are corrupt or clueless. Rather, Crash is a white-supremacist film because
of what it hides from the discussion.
According to Ebert, all the persons involved become better in the end because of their
experiences. He also brings to a close that people jump to conclusions based on race. The two
ideas complement each other, and this aspect convinces someone that the conclusions are right.
On the other hand, Jensen and Wosnitzer conclude that everyone is prejudiced, and people should
confront their prejudices. The whites are depicted as superior. The two facts are agreeable.
However, when they argue that the political films of one-dimensional caricatures rarely help to
understand the personal and political struggles, one is inclined to disagree. This is because most
political settings are one-sided. These two analysis show how different audiences interpret the
film differently.

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WORKS CITED
Elbert, Rodger. "Crash." Rogebar (2005). Web. 13 Apr. 2015.
<http://www.rogerebert.com/rogers-journal/in-defense-of-the-years-worst-movie>.
Wosnitzer and Jensen. R. '(DV) Jensen And Wosnitzer: "Crash" And The Self-Indulgence Of
White America'. Dissidentvoice.org. N.p., 2015. Web. 15 Apr. 2015.