Crossing Overby Roger Young / 09.07.2009
Crossing Over has two black marks. It shares a name (and a concept) with a TV show that is about a con artist who dupes celebrities out of money with fake tales of a redemptive other side and it stars Harrison Ford. It’s one of those everything-is-connected Babel-esque movies. That is, it’s one of those everything-is-connected movies that doesn’t work.
South African director Wayne Kramer made good in 2004 by writing a movie for Renny Harlin, “Mindhunters”, starring Val Kilmer and Christian Slater. He also directed “Running Scared”, the only not crap movie Paul Walker has ever been in, and, err, 1992’s “Blazeland”, in which, according to imdb, “a rock star from the late 60s, assumed dead in a car wreck, returns from the grave to promote a new band”. The latter I haven’t seen, but the first two are characterized by hampering scripts that over intellectualize, offset by solid workmanlike performances. Much the same can be said about Crossing Over.
Although most of the film’s performances through vignettes (except for Ford’s and Judd’s bombastic-ness) are nuanced and subtle, the real message is ‘Bam! Don’t Fuck wit Amerika!’ A young Mexican woman is working illegally in a sweatshop, she gets deported, leaving her son behind with an evil woman. She tries to re-cross the border and dies. Bam! Don’t Fuck wit Amerika! A young Arab woman is seeing a non-Arab, her family thinks this might get in the way of her father’s naturalization. They have her killed, because being an American family is more important than the individual members of the Family. Bam! Don’t Fuck wit Amerika! An out of work Australian wannabe actress has sex with an immigration officer to get a green card and is caught, deported and banned from returning. Bam! Don’t Fuck with Amerika! An Iraqi girl writes a school essay trying to explain how the 9/11 bombers must have felt in order to be able to go through with the sacrifice of their lives in such a manner. She gets thrown in jail and her family is deported. Bam! Don’t Fuck wit Amerika! A non- religious Jewish folk singer pretends to be religious to get a residence permit. A rabbi lies for him. They get away with it. Um, bam! Don’t Fuck wit Jews in Hollywood?
And so on. In a telling scene, the Australian actress is told by the immigration official that if she has sex with him he will classify her as “of exceptional talent” thereby granting her a green card. I wonder who Wayne Kramer had to fuck wit to get his Green Card? Because there are no displays of exceptional talent here.
Crossing Over is about people who want to live in America because, obviously, where they come from is just not as good as America. Which is really intense, man. People want to live in America! America is great! The people are desperate to live there! They make mistakes! They’re people! America catches them! America is great! The people who want to live there suffer! And it makes all these points over and over again. In the final analysis, Michael Haneke dealt with immigration issues better in Code:Unknown and PT Anderson pretty much ended the everything-is-connected film with Magnolia, so instead of seeing this, rent those.
*Ensemble cast, including Ashley Judd and Harrison Ford.
*Directed by Wayne Kramer