A stellar cast collides haphazardly in this insightfully written roundelay of racism, rage, and redemption which takes place over the course of one day in LA and involves a circus of cops, robbers, and civilians. A detective (Don Cheadle) with a heroin addict mother and criminal brother investigates the shooting of a black cop by a white one. Two hoodlums (Larenz Tate and Ludacris) jack the car of the District Attorney (Brendon Fraser) and his angry, racist wife (Sandra Bullock). Terrence Howard and Thandie Newton play an upper-class African American couple harassed by a racist cop (Matt Dillon). And the chaos continues, with other roles played by Tony Danza, Michael Pena, and Jennifer Esposito. A propulsive Mark Isham score keeps the disparate narrative threads electrified from the get-go; when they finally connect, the results are explosive and beautiful. Everything is tied together with tight editing and artistic shots of car headlights cutting through dense morning smog. Writer-director Paul Haggis' (writer of MILLION DOLLAR BABY) Los Angeles is a world of alienated people struggling to connect across vast barriers of language, class, and culture; that they manage to do so is testament to their depth as characters more than some trite message of brotherly love. There are no easy answers, but this film is tough, intelligent, and gutsy enough to find some anyway; and for that it's a winner.
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Sandra Bullock, DON Cheadle, Thandie Newton, Matt Dillon, Michael Pena
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