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Immigrants from around the world enter Los Angeles every day, with hopeful visions of a better life, but little notion of what that life may cost. Their desperate scenarios test the humanity of immigration enforcement officers. In Crossing Over, writer-director Wayne Kramer explores the allure of the American dream, and the reality that immigrants find - and create -- in 21st century L.A.Kramer's intersecting stories, both cathartic and tragic, are brought to life by an international ensemble.
The director of The Cooler tries a bigger canvas: Crossing Over is Wayne Kramer's take on nothing less than the vast subject of illegal immigration, coming at the topic from a dozen or so directions. Hefting the most star power is Harrison Ford, scurrying about as an L.A. Immigration and Customs officer whose conscience is sore from having trundled so many illegals back over the border--now he's worried about the child of a particularly vulnerable woman (Alice Braga). Cliff Curtis plays Ford's partner, an Iranian-American whose family is not as assimilated as his casual manner might suggest. There's a bit of pulp swagger in other sections of the picture, as Kramer tries to channel his inner Sam Fuller: for instance, an Immigration official (Ray Liotta at his piggiest) coerces an Australian actress (Alice Eve) into a sex-for-green-card affair, and an adolescent Arab-American girl (Summer Bishil, from Towelhead) gives a cheeky speech at school that puts her family under suspicion as possible terrorists. Other strands of this scenario aren't as urgent, as Ashley Judd dreams of adopting the African child she's tending, and Jim Sturgess (Across the Universe), as a British non-believer, tries to convince Immigration authorities of his commitment to working at a Jewish school. The movie's single best scene has him "auditioning" to convince a rabbi of his commitment to Judaism, a funny moment that also carries an echo of the history of Jewish exodus. The movie has a tendency to bash from one thing to the next, too neatly connecting its Crash-like plotlines, like a really spirited first draft of a better movie. --Robert Horton
- Aspect Ratio : 2.35:1
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- MPAA rating : s_medR R (Restricted)
- Product Dimensions : 7.5 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches; 4 Ounces
- Item model number : 5458536
- Director : Wayne Kramer
- Media Format : Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
- Run time : 1 hour and 53 minutes
- Release date : June 9, 2009
- Actors : Harrison Ford, Ashley Judd, Ray Liotta, Jim Sturgess, Cliff Curtis
- Subtitles: : Spanish, English
- Language : Unqualified
- Studio : CINEDIGM
- ASIN : B001UDS4BS
- Country of Origin : USA
- Number of discs : 1
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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For entertainment value 4 stars.
For dealing with a very difficult topic with intelligence and very real characters 5 stars.
Difficult subject to tackle.
YOU WIL SEE WHAT SOME OF THEM DO TO STAY OVER HERE AND WHAT ALSO, WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A FAMILY GETS SEPARATED AND HOW A FAMILY MEMBER CAN TURN ON EACH
AND HOW A HUSBAND AND WIFE TEAM , THAT WORK ON THE SAME SIDE OF THE IMMIGRATION LAW ,
ENDS UP ON THE WRONG SIDE OF LOVE AND LAW AND ORDER!
VERY WELL WRITEN MOVIE, THERE IS NUDITY IN THE MOVIE BUT WITH OUT THOSE PARTICULAR SCENES YOPU WOULD MISS THE POINT OF THE SHOW AND YOU WILL SEE HOW THINGS TURNED OUT IN THE END FOR A FEW OF THE PEOPLE YOU HAD SEEN THERE TROUBLES TO STAY HERE
BELIEVE IT OR NOT, YOU MIGHT SHED A TEAR OR TWO ABOUT ONE FAMILY , BUT BE HAPPY TO SEE HOW SOMEONE TRYS TO SCREW OVER HIS FAMILY AND IS CAUGHT
All of which leads me into my full-throated recommendation of "Crossing Over". Intrigued by the synopsis and cast, I took a chance on this and was powerfully rewarded with an outstanding ensemble drama that ought to provoke all sorts of reflection about our national immigration crisis as well as to stir our own thoughts about just what it means to be an American.
First, GREAT performances by both the stars and the unknowns sharing the screen here. Harrison Ford is appropriately bedraggled and exhausted as a seen-it-all ICE officer whose conscience forces him to look beyond his enforcer duties and try to ameliorate at least some of the human damage his job inflicts. Check out how he's got his "Blade Runner" square scotch glass back in a similar alone-at-home scene, examining both case history evidence as well as his own moral compass. Ashley Judd & Ray Liotta are as sharp as ever, portraying a husband/wife on opposite ends of the immigration spectrum: Ashley as an immigration attorney, struggling to help families at the mercy of the Federal immigration sausage grinder, and Ray as a jaded & corrupt bureaucrat sinking to his personal lowest as a bent cog in that very system. Anchored by these seasoned pros, the rest of the cast dials into their frequency, powerfully depicting the endless sour treadmill of immigration cat-and-mouse as a tragedy diminishing the humanity of all trapped within its jaws.
So many things grabbed me in "Crossing Over"; first was the dilemma of the illegal Saudi teenager who put her entire family at risk by provoking her high school class with an unbelievably inflammatory speech. YES she should have known better, but I almost immediately thought (and this was surely the directors' intent) "it is just the nature of teenagers to say and do risky, ill-considered things". Here we are challenged by the outrageously disproportional official response: would we approve of such a bare-knuckled official smackdown of a native kid who (for example) dropped a cherry bomb into the school's plumbing, or spray painted a swastika? Is it "justice" or is it brutish tyranny to respond so vindictively to teenage provocation like this?
I must also comment quickly on the "honor killing" depicted here. "Crossing Over" depicts the problems of assimilation vividly through conflict boiling beneath the surface of an outwardly "model" Iranian family on the verge of naturalization. Children raised and grown to maturity here are going to be imprinted with values and cultural "frames" vastly different from those their parents (or elder siblings) were born into. It's an understatement to say that this will provoke intense generational conflict, and while these tensions(thankfully) seldom lead to murder, unfortunately such things are not impossible or unprecedented. Here again, outstanding ensemble acting dramatizes the conflict and its causes very effectively, sketching all perspectives without artificially tugging our sympathies one way or another.
Implicit throughout "Crossing Over" is the question "what does it MEAN to be an American-a US Citizen-when so many outside our country are prepared to risk so much to live in the shadows among us, where they can all too easily find themselves targets of the nation they gambled EVERYTHING to be part of?" Obviously this is and should be a penetrating cause for self-examination on all possible fronts for each of us lucky enough to be Americans by birth. How DO the ideals our nation was founded on perpetuate and express themselves when challenged by outsiders who aspire to those same yearnings? No easy answers but you simply cannot see "Crossing Over" without these dilemmas tugging at your personal sense of who you are and what you contribute to our nation.
It's fair to say that "Crossing Over" indeed owes a great deal in many respects to predecessors like " Crash (Widescreen Edition) , Amores Perros , 21 Grams , or Traffic ". However, each of those was a great, absorbing, and important cinematic work of art in every meaningful sense. Despite its stylistic similarities, I don't think "Crossing Over" should be diminished by comparison; indeed, if you haven't already, see all of them.
"Crossing Over" never really had a fair chance in theaters to find an audience. I hope my praise can lead a few receptive readers to take a chance and be as amazed as I was by this arresting and consequential film.
Top reviews from other countries
Harrison Ford brilliant actor.
I loved this.