ryan_phillippe_1.jpgPaul Haggis's Crash brings to a head all the expectations we have about what a film about race should really be about. It's a hard thing to do, to put a bright white light on the dark-side of humanity without becoming overwrought or caught in the shadows.

Metacritic gives Haggis's debut directorial effort an overall grade of 90, which one might take to mean this film is among the truly exceptional. But that average is weighted by two raving reviews: one from David Denby at New Yorker, the other New York Magazine's KenTucker.

Denby sees the film as a perfect balance of pause and disaster. He even goes so far as to call it "the strongest American film this year."