The fact that Crash is set during Christmas in Los Angeles is just another heavy-handed swipe at selling this movie as more dramatic than it actually is. That was a bit editorial, but the film sort of lumbers through its themes, so the setting seems destined to create a juxtaposition, similar to a boy standing right out of camera, yelling, “THAT’S THE TIME OF YEAR THEY’RE SUPPOSED TO BE SO NICE TO EACH OTHER!”
It also seems as though it is played as a thematic connection between the different people, suggesting that the writers couldn’t come up with a more organic one.
Sorry. This was harsher than I meant for it to be.
Don’t want to get too spoiler-y here, because the film wasn’t seen by many. It’s actually an awesomely dark crime film, mostly due to the fatalistic view. Nothing really goes well for anyone in this film, and the tension against the Christmas backdrop is the best since Die Hard.
Okay. Bad stuff happens to Billy Bob Thornton, so that should be enough reason to see the film.
I can’t tell if violent crime films set at Christmas are darker by nature, or if the Christmas backdrop is that somber in most films. Either way, The Ref smartly leverages Christmas as both the end of a long year for the hostage family and as the one day a year they are REALLY supposed to repress their vitriol. I don’t really know if intra-family bickering and hatred is really an anti-Christmas or a Christmas characteristic. It doesn’t matter. The Ref is a pretty tense look at the resentments we harbor, all set in a crime film.