Monday, November 06, 2006

Oscar Stephen Keeler?

Have you seen the Academy Award-grabbing film Crash? I thoroughly enjoyed it—the verb is perhaps inappropriate, given that the movie was widely praised for its piercing look at race relations. I found this aspect of it sententious and frequently absurd. But as an example of Harry Stephen Keeler's webwork method of storytelling, Crash is brilliant and completely watchable. Several different plot threads (an accident, a carjacking, etc.) are introduced right up front, with no apparent linkages, but gradually it turns out that these early incidents will have repercussions later on, when a character from strand A intersects with one from strand B, and so forth. By the end, the web becomes very tightly woven indeed, and you can trace every single character by just a few degrees of separation. Perhaps Paul Haggis and company would consider filming an update of, say, The Box From Japan?

In a recent Times review of Babel, A.O. Scott wrote:

The splintered, jigsaw-puzzle structure...will be familiar to viewers who have seen ''Amores Perros'' or ''21 Grams,'' the other two features Mr. Arriaga and Mr. González Iñárritu have made together. Indeed, this movie belongs to an increasingly common, as yet unnamed genre—''Crash'' is perhaps the most prominent recent example—in which drama is created by the juxtaposition of distinct stories, rather than by the progress of a single narrative arc.
May I suggest "webwork" as a name?

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Blogger jennifer snow said...

For Crash, may I suggest "the poor man's 'Magnolia?'"

2:49 PM  

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