Crossing Over

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner29/07/2009

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 113 mins

Engaging, provocative and intelligent multi-character drama with a strong script, impressive direction and great performances from a talented ensemble cast.

What's it all about?
Written and directed by Wayne Kramer, Crossing Over is an immigration drama that follows several characters in modern-day Los Angeles. They include: kind-hearted immigration cop Max (Harrison Ford), who tries to reunite a young Mexican boy with his mother (Alice Braga) after she's deported; his partner Hamid (Cliff Curtis), whose family are pressurising his unconventional sister (Melody Khazae) on the eve of their father's naturalisation ceremony; wannabe Australian actress Claire (Alice Eve), who's blackmailed into having a sexual affair with sleazy visa official Cole (Ray Liotta) in return for a green card; and Yong (Justin Chon), an about-to-be-naturalised Korean teenager who falls in with a gun-toting Asian gang.

Meanwhile, British musician Gavin Kossef (Jim Sturgess) finds a religious loophole in the law as he applies to be a teacher at a Jewish school, and Cole's wife Denise (Ashley Judd) is an immigration lawyer who gets involved with the case of a 15-year-old Indian girl (Summer Bishil) who's become a suspected terrorist thanks to an outspoken school report.

The Good
The performances are excellent, particularly newcomer Summer Bishil (whose story is powerfully emotional but accorded the least amount of screen time) and Alice Eve, who earns our sympathy by being forced to spend 90 percent of her scenes topless while Ray Liotta paws at her (Kramer's obviously a bit of a nudity fan – let's not forget this is the man who brought us William H. Macy's balls in The Cooler). In addition, Harrison Ford clearly relishes the chance to do some proper acting for once, while Jim Sturgess is likeable and engaging in the film's most lighthearted segment.

The Great
The structure of the film falters a little, with various strands being given more weight than others. Similarly, the script is occasionally heavy-handed, but its range of immigration experiences is impressive and you forgive the odd bit of speechifying because the storytelling is both engaging and provocative.

Worth seeing?
Crossing Over is a sharply observed, superbly acted drama that's both thought-provoking and powerfully emotional. Highly recommended.

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Content updated: 16/07/2019 19:02

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