Though the racist Officer Ryan—played by Matt Dillon in a role that earned him an Oscar® nomination—is one of the most despicable characters in the beginning of Crash, the story does not offer the easiness of making him an outlandish villain. After sexually assaulting Christine, Officer Ryan goes home and has a tender moment with his father, and undergoes his own transformation later in the movie.
"That's what I liked about the script, and I thought it was pretty consistent throughout the script, not just with my character," Matt says. "With my character—who is this really hideous guy in the beginning—that it then explores the more personal nature of the guy's life. And you get a sense of where this bitterness and this hatred comes from. Not that it makes his behavior excusable, but ... it went a little deeper. To me it was a very accurate portrayal of certain segments, indisputably, of the LAPD. ... He's the guy who's scapegoating; he's living an unexamined existence. He's unable to recognize his own faults and his own bad thinking."