A mountain of buzz precedes this ensemble drama, an explosive and heated look at racial relations, or a lack thereof, in America. As social commentary, Crash fails: Too much is left to contrivance and some sequences, particularly early on, feel much too forced to incite more than a wince, a few wows and an unintended scoff or two. It’s in the second act that the film really strikes. You’ll never stop having to suspend disbelief, but if you can hang on, the impending dread and shock that awaits is bound to leave a mark. A strong cast (Don Cheadle, Terrence Howard, Matt Dillon, Ryan Phillippe) carries the movie, but it’s the unheralded players (Thandie Newton, Michael Pena, Ashlyn Sanchez) who run away with it.

Extras: Commentary with Cheadle, writer/director Paul Haggis and writer/producer Bobby Moresco, Haggis introduction, behind-the-scenes feature, music video.

DVD Grade: B+

© 2005, Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.

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