Crossing Over (2009)
Crossing Over (2009)

Genre: Drama Running Time: 1 hr. 53 min.

Release Date: March 20th, 2009 MPAA Rating: R

Director: Wayne Kramer Actors: Harrison Ford, Ray Liotta, Ashley Judd, Jim Sturgess, Cliff Curtis, Alice Braga, Alice Eve

 


 

“C

rossing Over” is a jumbled mix of stories and ideas, with the likes of “Crash,” “Babel,” “Fast Food Nation,” and even bits of “Gran Torino” piled together. There’s a powerful underlying theme of inequality, the boundaries of the freedom of speech, and the inescapable abuse of power, but the major viewpoints are forcibly shoved down viewers’ throats. The general public will most likely misinterpret the motif of being open-minded (to religion, citizenship, naturalization, and hopes of opportunity) with bitter anti-Americanism, which will prevent sympathy for almost everyone in the film. It’s a difficult concept to ingest, especially when presented nearly hostilely. “Crossing Over” will certainly struggle to find an audience.

Max Brogan (Harrison Ford) is an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent with a dangerous flaw: he has a heart and sympathy for the very people he must track down and deport. His partner, Iranian-American Hamid (Cliff Curtis), awaits his father’s naturalization ceremony and appears dedicated to his job only to prove to his family how important it is to be American. As the duo runs routine busts on illegal immigrants, several other stories are revealed: a defense lawyer (Ashley Judd) negotiates for a new family for an orphaned child and must also orchestrate the deportation method of a family whose 15-year-old daughter is accused of having ties to terrorism; a young Jewish man (Jim Sturgess) tries to use his unpracticed religion to secure a job; and Cole Frankel (Ray Liotta) uses his position as a green card approval supervisor to force a beautiful Australian model (Alice Eve) into some compromising positions.

The film begs for sympathy for several groups of people, all of which have broken the law. Some of the offenses are easier to understand and rationalize, but most derive little real accord. Each case is preceded and surrounded by corruption and gross misuse of power, but condoning any of the actual crimes is never fully justified. It’s apparent that bad decisions and uneducated choices are the cause for most of the predicaments. If only fate had somehow intervened, perhaps that would allow for more compassion. And Frankel, who deserves the least amount of clemency, gets an odd and wholly unnecessary moment of remorse – one that does little to alter his fate.

“Crossing Over” is political and thought-provoking, but also muddled by the ICE lingo and green card terms and the overabundance of characters. Its failure lies in the multiple interweaving storylines that could have been reduced to one or two. Hiding behind jobs, makeup, and religious ties sums up the not too complex personalities, while the murder-mystery portion is evident from the start. The struggles of United States citizenship, the impossibility of equality, the undeniable corruption of those in power, and the tragedy heaped on to the point of comedy are all noble attempts at a moving premise, but an utter nosedive concerning entertainment value. The film befittingly concludes on a note of how great America really is, while flashing back to human heads exploding under point blank gunfire.

– The Massie Twins

  • 3/10