Crossing Over (2009)
Directed by: Wayne Kramer
Premise: The film follows several storylines of people trying to achieve citizenship status in Los Angeles.
What Works: Crossing Over is mostly effective in what it is trying to do and as a multi-narrative picture it works better than most. The picture deals with a hot button political issue but the filmmakers show a better sense of subtlety than others making similar films and the better plotlines of Crossing Over enjoy the complexity of immigration rather than run away from it. The strongest narrative of the film involves an aging immigration agent played by Harrison Ford who tries to reunite an abandoned child with his illegal immigrant mother. Ford’s character sees the flaws in the system and the human toll it takes on the people involved. This is one of Ford’s best performances in years and it’s too bad that the film was not more widely seen. The other strong plotline of Crossing Over involves a Muslim student (Summer Bishil) whose family is threatened with deportation when she publicly empathizes with the 9/11 hijackers. Admirably, the film does not take easy ways out with her storyline, as she does not apologize for her opinions but the government’s actions against her are ethically questionable and the consequences for the family are ultimately heartbreaking.
What Doesn’t: Crossing Over does suffer from some familiar and even cliché scenarios such as the immigration official (Ray Liotta) who sexually exploits an Australian woman (Alice Eve) in exchange for a green card. Also, like many multi-narrative films, Crossing Over invokes quite a bit of coincidence in crisscrossing the plotlines.
DVD extras: None.
Bottom Line: Crossing Over is a strong film, better even than some more high profile pictures like Babel. Even if it is a bit uneven between storylines, the film is worth viewing.
Episode: #277 (February 21, 2010)