KATHMANDU: Harrison Ford in his thriller Fugitive was on the run. In Crossing Over he is a world weary, sensitive, Immigration Officer trying to balance what he knew was right in the old days and is confused by what he sees is happening in America today. It would seem that Harrison and a few experience a loss of innocence in post 9/11 America.
As Pete Hammond says, “An engrossing, thoroughly entertaining movie with great performances from a first-rate ensemble cast. Clearly influenced by the 2005 Oscar-winning Crash, writer/director Wayne Kramer’s multi-character, segmented story focuses on the hot button issue of immigration — illegal and otherwise — told from several vantage points. A teenager (Summer Bishil) is targeted as a potential terrorist because of an essay she wrote; a young mother (Alice Braga) fights to keep her child after being deported; an Australian actress (Alice Eve) prostitutes herself to get a green card. We also meet a Korean teen, a British musician, a Mexican worker a Bangladeshi family and others, whose lives and dreams of American citizenship intersect with a group of people working for and closely with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in LA. Chief among them is Max Brogan (Harrison Ford), a veteran but burnt-out agent not beyond bending the law to uphold the fading ideals that brought him to the job in the first place.
Ford is terrific in a low-key but touching portrayal of a man struggling to keep up with a changing world of immigration law, clinging to the moral compass that originally got him started. It’s not the kind of starring role we normally see him do, but he blends nicely into a superb ensemble of international actors. Ray Liotta is rather effective as a hapless applications manager willing to risk his career and marriage to an immigration defence attorney (an understated Ashley Judd) for a sordid affair with an Australian actress. This aggressive bimbo is cheating on her likeable British boyfriend, sweetly played by Jim Sturgess as both try desperately to get a green card in equally unethical ways.
Kramer’s in-your-face, vivid directorial style has served him well in the critically acclaimed The Cooler. With Crossing Over, he generally tones it down to tell a tricky multi-level story in which he tries to juggle several characters constantly merging in and out of the film. If it’s not ultimately as successful as Crash, this storytelling technique is, in many ways, just as effective due to the subject matter.”
Kramer uses the multi-flyovers of LA as a metaphor for lives that criss cross and the only angels in Los Angeles are the ones way up above observing despair and only occasionally happiness.
Adds Robert Horton, “Crossing Over is director 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 LA 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. Cliff Curtis plays Ford’s partner, an Iranian-American whose family is not as assimilated as his casual manner might suggest. Jim Sturgess 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.”