Year: 2004
Production Co: Bulls Eye Entertainment
Director: Paul Haggis
Producer: Don Cheadle
Writer: Paul Haggis
Cast: Don Cheadle, Jennifer Esposito, Sandra Bullock, Matt Dillon, Brendan Fraser, Terrence Howard, Thandie Newton, Michael Pena, Keith David, Ryan Phillipe, William Fitchner, Tony Danza, Chris Ludacris Bridges, Marina Sirtis
A film for grown-ups, the only stretch being a Star-Wars-like tendency to link a small group of characters a little too inextricably.

Overtly a comment on race relations in LA, it deservedly won the Oscar for Best Picture in its depiction of desperate, scared, sad people, most of them portrayed by performances that match the high quality of the material by some actors on top of their game. And it's not just faces like Don Cheadle that impress, but actors who just need some good material to work with like Sandra Bullock and Matt Dillon (both of whom fall frequently into turgid territory).

To describe the plot would take as long as watching the movie, but a racist cop, well-to-do black couple who can't escape police brutality, terminally paranoid housewife and a pair of black gang bangers who both complain at not being able to escape the stereotype and playing up to it wholeheartedly are just the beginning.

The few moments of wry humour are a surprise and a welcome one, but mostly it's about a truth in America so far ingrained into national politics and individual prejudices it seems at least another generation before America will see any light at the end of the tunnel.

Cemented uber-writer Paul Haggis as a star in his field.

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