Film critic Roger Ebert is taking some heat for a piece he wrote comparing Crash to Dickens. Now let, me start out with a confession: I haven't seen Crash. I know, I know, you can flog me with a wet noodle now. It's true, I don't see every single film that comes down the pike. To be honest, I haven't been all that interested in seeing Crash, really. It sounded a bit too Traffic and Nine Lives to me - the whole "group of strangers whose lives intersect in unexpected ways" thing. Ebert's take, though, actually makes me want to see the film.

Ebert argues that if the plot of Crash seems contrived, it's intentionally so. Dickens, he says, used carcicature and coincidence as literary devices to drive stories that shone a light on the social issues of his day, in a fight to bring about change. Characters were as they needed to be; answers appeared when they should; the particular scrap of paper that was needed turned up at just the right moment. Crash, sayeth Ebert, uses the same devices in the same way to drive a story about a relevant social issue of our time - racism.

I can't say yet whether I agree with Ebert's take, but it does put a spin on the film that actually makes me want to see it. If you've seen the film and loved it - or hated it - what do you think of Ebert's analogy? Is Crash a film of Dickensian proportions? Or is it just so much contrived hot air unworthy of its Oscar nods?