Music and Movies / Crash: Character Analysis Of Officer Hansen

Crash: Character Analysis Of Officer Hansen

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Autor:  anton  10 November 2010
Tags:  Character,  Analysis,  Officer,  Hansen
Words: 1385   |   Pages: 6
Views: 1498

The movie Crash is an interesting look at a variety of perspectives regarding the interaction and socialization of several different groups of people and how sometimes their intentions can be misconstrued. In the movie, Officer Hansen proves to be a specially interesting character. Hansen is a white male who seems to have grown up in a fairly typical environment and doesn’t stand out from the normative views of an individual coming from his social grouping. Unlike his partner Officer Ryan, Officer Hansen tries his best to set aside his differences with out groups and choose to treat everyone equally from the beginning and one of the main opening conflicts in the film is geared towards Officer Hansen feeling that his partner is taking advantage of a situation and grossly abusing his position of authority and being especially ruthless and vulgar towards a black couple. Hansen appears from the beginning to be one of the special cases in the movie that is willing to accept someone from another group with open arms and actively acting out against unfair treatment of the undeserving.

Officer Hansen seems to portray a common, white man with a standard background that allows him to treat everyone equally and civilly, perhaps without taking into context any major events involving different groups that had occurred in his lifetime. What sets Hansen apart from many of the other characters in the movie is that he does not appear to have had a lot of interaction with other groups outside of his own before hand, and thus has not formed many of the same fears and falsehoods that other characters in the movie at times exhibit a sentiment towards. He could be viewed as either a major or a minor character, but I believe his extreme realization of how the world is not the place he thought it was, makes him one of the more important and intriguing characters in the movie. Even if only to exacerbate the character traits of others, Hansen becomes severely tangled in every story line throughout the movie for the most part, and in each circumstance attempts to do what he thinks is best and what he really feels is just.

Hansen’s frame of mind changes slightly throughout the movie, and at times goes a bit back and forth up until the end. He originally goes from making the assumption that everyone is on an equal playing field and treating it as if everyone generally has the same advantages and disadvantages, but as events unfold he starts to sway in this belief. Seeing his partner, Officer Ryan, physically assault Christine (the wife in the black couple that was pulled over early on) opened Hansen’s eyes to racism and he seemed to have an awakening experience where he wanted to help balance out the inequality in the system and help set things right. Unfortunately, even though he is a police officer, he soon discovers that his ability to fix things and expose an obvious racist are not what he had first imagined. When he went to his superior officer to transfer away from his racist partner and to distance himself from the situation, he was unpleasantly surprised by the results. His commanding officer, a black man, was not willing to oust Officer Ryan, as it would make him look bad, and he felt that it was too hard for a black officer to achieve the rank he had achieved, and therefore making an accusation against Officer Ryan would only damage his reputation and hurt them both in the long run. Hansen had to decide if he was willing to stay with Ryan who was a blatant racist in his mind, or if he would admit to an embarrassing “flatulence problem” and run the risk of losing credibility and dignity in the department. In the end Hansen decided that being with a racist partner was not something he was willing to do, and it played a further role in developing the idea in Hansen’s head that this was the way things worked and change would not come easy, if at all.

The next major event that Officer Hansen was apart of, involved being called to the scene of a disturbance involving a black car hijacker, and the husband of the wife his partner had violated a few days before (Cameron). This event is a pivotal point in the psyche of the officer. Previously Hansen had felt that Cameron was an upstanding citizen and that he was just a normal guy like he himself, not to be treated any better or worse, and that they both adhered to the same social norms. When Hansen arrived on the scene of the call, he finds Cameron virtually crazed, and acting in a manner generally associated with stereotypes of black men who steal cars and are sometimes involved in shootings. Finding Cameron acting in such a state seemed to take a toll on Hansen, as he no longer had this idea of an upstanding citizen in his mind. Officer Hansen did try to fix the situation, he seemed to be attempting to make amends for the events of the night before because he felt guilty and partially responsible, although he was not directly and did not condone the actions of his partner, and in some way he seemed to be trying to balance out the inequalities in life that had recently come before his eyes. This is the key turning point in the movie for Hansen, and he takes a turn for the worst. For whatever reason, Hansen working hard to pay Cameron back to help balance out the system, seemed to shatter certain notions that he had regarding minorities and blacks in particular, and seemed to perpetuate the thought that blacks in general are criminals and unstable, which plays out later by showing his deteriorated lack of trust and willing to give others the benefit of the doubt. Seeing Cameron go from a productive citizen, to a crazed man urging the cops to make a move, pushed Hansen over the edge and he started to go against his previous ideas of being supportive and willing to lend a helping hand when in need. Cameron’s behavior, and in my opinion a lack of recognition of receiving any help and merely walking away in a manner of disrespect, seemed to show Hansen that maybe he had been wrong and he was being lenient and forgiving the entire time, when the same would not be reciprocated in the given circumstance. This seemed to be the straw that finally pushed him to becoming more like his partner, and what he was trying to avoid becoming.

The final scene with Officer Hansen was him driving home, and picking up a black hitch-hiker. The circumstances are a little open for interpretation, but the hitch-hiker (who has attempted to steal a car in the earlier scene) was fumbling around in his jacket and laughing while Hansen told him to put his hands were he could see them, and at the last second Hansen makes the split second decision to fire upon his guest because he thinks his own life may have been at peril.

Throughout the movie, we see Hansen go from a genuine good guy who really wants to make a difference, to in the end, being fearful of minorities in a way and expecting the worst of them. It’s hard to say this is an extreme example, and in many cases this probably happens everyday. In today’s every more diversifying society, people overall need to be more tolerant of eachother and willing to accept when someone else is legitimately trying to be helpful and be able to see the best in other people than expecting the worse, and in today’s society we’re not taught to give people the benefit of the doubt very often. If people were willing to stop and sometimes overlook the small things and try not to let the little differences between the genders, races and other groups effect so much, then differing groups would be able to coexist a little better and everyone would be a little less likely to jump to conclusions.

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