Maybe Crash deserved its controversial points victory. Ang Lee's film is like one of those fancied fighters that only ups his work-rate for the last few rounds, winning them convincingly, but perhaps not really making up for earlier plodding.
Given that the script for this full length feature swelled out of Annie Proulx's short story, what intrigues me is where the author's chosen emphasis lay. The slow start in the mountains, the awkwardness bordering on comedy of the mid-section, or the pathos and bitterness of the last act? I shall have to find out.
Often the best way to show people the truth (and the lies) of their own lives is to reveal to them resonant dilemmas faced by characters that are in some important way very different from themselves. The face value of this story is of course very high, but it can also be taken as a more general allegory about the ways we find to waste our lives, which often start with a failure to act on the glimpses of transcendence that many of us are granted in our youth.