Saturday, June 27, 2009

Crossing Over

Crossing Over sounded like Oscar bait. The movie was initially going to be released in August of 2008 but was pushed back to December 2008 and finally to the death slot of February 2009. It sounded like it could be perfect. It starred Harrison Ford, Sean Penn, Ray Liotta, Jim Sturges, and Ashley Judd and it was a piece of hyper-link cinema that dealt with the theme of immigration (for those not in the know, hyper-link cinema is the kind of movie that Robert Altman and Quentin Tarantino made popular with a bunch of unconnected characters all being brought together by a singular theme or event and the characters would sometimes cross paths, see Pulp Fiction, Magnolia, Traffic, Crash, Babel, etc.). Then Sean Penn's entire sub-plot was cut for a bevy of reasons (didn't make sense, Penn found some politics of the movie too offensive, etc. etc.). The end result was post-production hell and Wayne Kramer (director of The Cooler) and his film was seen to be a drama that was just too over-complicated and emotional for its own good.

Quite simply, this is just a drama that fails. I was looking forward to seeing Harrison Ford in this role (he was originally going to play the Michael Douglas role in Traffic and the George Clooney role in Syriana). Yet Ford decided to just scowl his way through most of his plots but the vet would at least let us see what it was that made his character crack (the "she died in MY country" bit stands out). The movie is instead too concerned with its multi-narrative message that is one of those "we are all the world and the world is one" kind of morals. The characters are all too lively and over-dramatic for their own good. Jim Sturges and Alice Evans as an illegally immigrated British couple are the most interesting next to the Korean teenager who is drawn into violence followed by the girl that reads a paper in class about the high-jackers of 9/11. The film tries to be overly melodramatic with the way that it connects the characters by the themes and ideas associated with immigration but unlike Crash, the film doesn't leave us with many questions about the topic. Instead it leaves us with a bevy of emotional characters that just stepped through their paces to make us go "aww, poor thing, now why is this happening again?"

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