Paul Haggis’ Crash is a movie, set within the environs of Los Angeles, and it aims at evidencing the cultural and racial divergences working invisibly within the location. Haggis employs various characters within the film to amplify his position on ethnical strains. As the film begins, most of the characters are only introduced menially to the viewers, with their development spread over the film for plot enhancement. For an in-depth understanding of the gradual nature of character development, we will focus on John Ryan, a law enforcer with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). The audience is introduced to Ryan in film in the scene where he apprehends a black couple, Cameron and Christine Thayer, following a carjacking incident performed by black individuals (Howard 131). Although the Thayer’s car is short of the stolen automobile description, Ryan insists on apprehending it despite the illegality of his actions. Tom Hansen, Ryan’s partner who is also white, questions his motives and tries to dissuade him from the move to no avail.
A conformation occurs between the Thayer’s and Ryan as Christine resists his insolent action and he sexually harasses her in the process. He then releases the couple with no apologies and returns to his car. In this scene, Haggis reveals the bigoted nature of Ryan. As the film advances, this trait if further amplified in the scene where Ryan uses racialist remarks against a healthcare agent in a telephone conversation attributed to his aggravation in acquiring a doctor’s meeting for his ailing father. Interestingly, Ryan vents his anger on the agent without any racial traces and it is only after the realization that the lady is black that he commences his racial remarks. Having not acquired an appointment, Ryan shortly visits the health institution where he uses bigoted words to address the same agent he had conversed with on the telephone. With these two scenes, Haggis effectively relays a level of abhorrence to the audience concerning Ryan marking the completion of the initial development phase.
The second phase employs the use of dramatic irony as Haggis infuses a humane element into the beastly character he had developed. This is first achieved through the selflessness that Ryan offers towards his father’s illness. He is genuinely concerned towards his situation although the message relayed by his kind actions is highly limited by the fact that he accords this form of treatment to a fellow white. Haggis with the full comprehension of the emotional abhorrence he has created within the viewers towards Ryan however resorts to a gradual reconciliation of the audience to Ryan’s humane side as the plot progresses. The next attempt is made in the scene where Ryan takes in a Hispanic law enforcer as a replacement for Hansen after the latter demands for a partner change following the case of the Thayer’s (Howard 132). The audience is stunned to learn that Ryan actually accords a very fair and respectful treatment to his new partner, with no element of bigotry in their several associations.
The most significant resolution is however achieved in the rescue scene involving Christine, the black individual whom the officer had sexually harassed. In this scene, Christine is involved in a serious road carnage that threatens her existence unless a quick rescue is accorded. Christine is unable to leave the upturned car and the punctured diesel tank threatens to explode in a short instance as a trail of the fuel has already caught fire. Detective Ryan is the law enforcer that initially arrives at the scene towards the freeing episode and upon this realization, Christine’s resentment is rekindled and she refuses to corporate with Ryan. This is a definite effect of the former harassment case and within the audience’s mind, a recurrence of the same is highly expected. Haggis conversant with the scene’s magnitude towards salvaging a form of reconciliation between the viewers and Ryan’s character applies converse elements to achieve the opposite sentiments.
Ryan converses with Christine in a calm tone and patiently instills a level of sense in her thinking concerning the situation. He accords her a truthful assessment of the scenery and the outcome while offering her the option of making her decision without any form of coercion. This is different from the commanding and rude tone the Ryan initially uses to address Christine in the apprehending scene. With the audience clearly impressed by the respectful gestures, only the sexual part mandates a resolution for a complete character overhaul. Haggis achieves this in the actual pullout as Christine is being pulled from the wreckage. Christine’s dress is pulled backwards in a revealing way and Ryan stretches it down to cover her before rescuing her (Howard 133). This is a direct contravention of the expected move. A short period after the rescue the car blows creating a pragmatic feeling as to the hazard Ryan faces to rescue a black woman. This definitely acts as the climaxing factor for his character development and the closure resolves Ryan as a humane character having overcome his bigoted weakness.
In conclusion, Ryan’s character development reflects a realistic social setting in which even the vilest of individuals are capable of constructive behavior alterations. Form a subjective view and that evidenced by the film I firmly take the position that people bear the capability of change with the right factors and environment. Diego Maradona the renowned Argentinean football player evidences constructive behavior change from his cocaine addiction. Maradona commenced his drug abuse in the period 1984 and even upon his marriage and transformation into a father, he persisted with his behavior until the period 2004 when his health deteriorated leaving him in a coma due to the same. As his daughters prayed for their father’s recovery, he heard their statements and upon gaining consciousness, he resorted to change his actions. The right environment and situation certainly changed him.
Howard, Philip. Crash politics and antiracism: interrogations of liberal race discourse. New York: Peter Lang, 2008. Print.