Crossing Over (2009) Poster


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Crash Lite
yogi-1421 February 2009
This ensemble multi-ethnic cast turns in solid performances in this formulaic treatment of the everyday dramas faced by the hard working folks at Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Mexican, Chinese, Palestinian, Australian and Persian plots carom off each other like Olympic Billiards as Harrison Ford, (whose obviously impending retirement is thankfully never mentioned), his heart bleeding from frame one to the credits, leads a solitary existence in an apartment at what has to be the Alimony Arms Hotel. There is no attempt to patch over the Crash/Babel formula; the film embraces it and comes up with some fine set pieces like a gripping intervention (Cliff Curtis and Justin Chon) during a convenience store robbery/shootout. The aerial views of L.A. will make natives want to freeze-frame future DVDs to ID where we are. The climax (NO SPOILER) is played against an attenuated rendering of the National Anthem and packs a punch. Unfortunately, there has to be another five minutes of Tying Up Loose Ends. Does it sound like I didn't like this much? On the contrary, it was 113 minutes well spent and shouldn't have been relegated to the Purgatory of February. April, maybe?
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A Nutshell Review: Crossing Over
DICK STEEL10 April 2009
Like Crash, Fast Food Nation and Babel before it, Crossing Over consists of multiple story lines bound together by a common theme examined, sometimes with just a few characters straddling across the narrative threads to link them up explicitly. Writer-director Wayne Kramer examines the issues behind the illegal immigrant problem in USA who are either trying to lay low in avoiding the law, or trying their best to gain legal residency with each experiencing different challenges that lie ahead in their quest.

And it's quite ambitious for Kramer to try and pull off no less than seven parallel threads in the film, which to a certain extent I felt was largely successful, despite some being almost peripheral if not for the presence of a recognized star. Anchored by Harrison Ford as Max Brogan, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent, the film weaves in and out of the different threads without feeling too forced, or the need for some compulsory and carefully designed moments to link the stories up intricately. Sometimes like the six degrees of separation, the film captures the fact that we don't have full details of that web of links, and it will feel very artificial if everyone knew everyone else, or if one event would impact severely on another.

In any case, each of the story lines were engaging enough, some employing deep emotions to argue their case, while others even had to build to a crescendo of all out action, such as a supermarket shootout (one of the nicely executed ones I've seen). There's an illegal Mexican woman (a very short role by Alice Braga) who begs Ford's Max to look after her young son in the care of unfriendly relatives, a Jewish musician (Jim Sturgess) who's waiting to qualify for residency and willing to do just anything to get there, his Australian girlfriend (Alice Eve) and Hollywood actress wannabe who had granted 2 months worth of on-demand sexual favours to an Immigration official (Ray Liotta) in exchange for a green card, whose wife (Ashley Judd) wants to adopt a child placed in a detention centre, who meets an Iranian girl (Summer Bishil whose essay failed to condemn the terrorists of 9/11 and gotten her and her family into hot soup. Then there's a Korean family who is waiting to be naturalized whose eldest son got involved with thugs (ala Gran Torino rites of passage style), and another ICE agent (Cliff Curtis) whose family cannot stand their estranged sister whom they feel is a disgrace of their values, tradition and custom by adopting the lifestyle of Americans, yet strangely ironic as they too pursue to be American citizens.

Phew, and all this with a little murder mystery thrown into the mix as well. It's about how one aspires to live in a country, yet uncompromising in one's position to adopt and adapt to the new environment. Which brings about some xenophobia, especially if one's too different from the rest, and things are made worst with the citizens unwilling to understand and lend assistance in assimilation to a new country and its idiosyncrasies.

But what seemed to be a common theme here, is how power can be either used to do what's probably morally right, versus abusing it for personal gain. Given three of the lead characters here are law enforcement or in responsible positions in government agencies, it's easy to abuse privilege, and it's nothing new too, even in local context, where sexual favours get traded for leniency or the closing of an eye pertaining to illegal workers, or those here without the proper papers. And since the law is fixed (and sometimes perverse by those who interpret it), and justice blind, I suppose there are times we may be compelled to lend a hand to a stranger out of nothing but on humanitarian grounds, in doing what's right and decent for a fellow human being.

Crossing Over presents many of such situations and while it may be a mixed bag in its narrative, it certainly pushes the right buttons with its star-studded ensemble cast in making the audience think about, empathize with, and examine if the issues presented could have existed in the local context, with similar challenges in the treatment of those who are illegal immigrants.
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Far superior to muddled Crash
Dan Franzen (dfranzen70)15 September 2009
Unlike Crash, another recent disparate-people-dealing-with-a-sociological-issue movie, Crossing Over is poignant, stirring, and rousing, capturing what must be the wrenching experience of being an immigrant, legal or otherwise, in the United States. Led by Harrison Ford, the ensemble cast touches all the bases. Although the movie can be very difficult to watch at times, owing to its subject matter, it's a tough-minded look at the often-tragic issue of immigration.

Ford plays Max Brogan, an INS agent stationed in Los Angeles, who decides to help an illegal textile worker (Alice Braga) by making sure that the woman's son is taken to his grandmother (the woman's mother) in Mexico when the woman is detained. Meanwhile, Max's partner Hamid Baraheri (Cliff Curtis), struggles to reconcile his job with the culture of his family (Iranian) and the reckless behavior of his younger sister. Ray Liotta plays Cole Frankel, an adjudicator who determines the status of immigrants and their green cards; Alice Eve is an aspiring Australian actress who has to degrade herself to lengthen her stay in the country; Ashley Judd plays Liotta's wife, who defends immigrants in status cases. In a parallel storyline, a young Korean youth, days before his family's naturalization ceremony, makes a decision that could have terrible consequences.

All of these story lines are intricately intertwined, but here's where the movie differs from Crash: the interactions of the various characters never feel forced or insincere, and the characters themselves are not simple good people doing bad things or bad people doing good things.

The acting is uniformly grand. Ford, who rarely plays nonhero roles let alone supporting roles, is excellent as the crusty, world-weary agent, trying desperately to solve a serious crime that may hit close to home while also doing the right thing by the young textile-worker mother. Also shining is Judd (and, to a lesser extent, Liotta, although he plays the same character in many of his movies now - a slimeball), but really sealing the deal is Curtis (10,000 BC, Sunshine) as the conflicted agent of Iranian descent.

Like the issue of immigration itself, the movie is complicated, almost detrimentally so, but the conflict should certainly resonate with its audience, even if one is not an immigrant or part of a family that has recently immigrated. Certain scenes are almost deadly with their pathos, figuratively rending your heart as they play out. Emotionally gripping scenes such as these (particularly near the end of the film) exemplify precisely the kind of psychological gymnastics that a director must undertake for a film like this to have any sort of positive effect on its audience. That is, the entire issue of immigration is fraught with anger, deceit, terror, and sadness, and it can be tricky to walk the line between one feeling or another, lest one be accused of bias.

Crossing Over falls into none of the traps that Crash fell into. Its character-driven storyline is brimming with plausible conflict that eclipses the usual cops-and-illegals pastiche, choosing instead to deal with problems on a more individual level. The result is an honest, illuminating look at a sometimes-vexing subject, although it is clearly not for all tastes.
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Extremely underrated
barryweir26 April 2011
I am an immigration lawyer, albeit an English one. I started my career dealing with asylum cases, family reunions and illegal immigrants. Over the years I have gone on to act for students, entertainers, high net worth individuals and corporate clients. There is little in this field I have not witnessed, from bigotry, to desperation, to the rich trying to take advantage, from immigration officials acting to corruption in my very own profession.

I have to say that this movie explores the issues surrounding immigration extremely well. Forced removal, failed attempts to cheat the system, the motivations for naturalisation (which, as the movie suggests, are not always for the joy of becoming a new citizen) and the general drive of some people to find a better life for their family. I also used to be engaged to an Iranian so I was quite impressed with the portrayal of the Iranian family. I do not mean honour killings, that is not a common thing in wealthy Iranian families, but what often can be is the concept of how one appears to others in the culture and the effect of negative gossip on the reputation of the senior members of the family.

Also, a lot has been made about the 9/11 "sympathiser" storyline. Indeed, there is one reviewer on here who refers to it as disgusting. How laughable. It is perhaps a shame that audiences, particularly American ones it seems, do not actually listening to the dialog. What the character of Taslima says is that she does not agree what they did but she understood the motivation. The movie then cleverly goes on to show the conclusion jumping nature of some Americans, in this instance the immigration official. At the end of the day Taslima's possible terrorist sympathies are left ambiguous, neither confirmed or disproved, and that is why I think a lot of less intelligent viewers jump to the same conclusion that the fictional official does by filling in the blanks that they desire to see because they do not wish to have a dialog about a difficult subject.

The only disappointing part of the movie for me was the Harrison Ford storyline. I didn't feel that any part of it explored any particular immigration related issue until the penultimate scene and I couldn't understand the motivation behind Ford's character. However, that aside I couldn't fault this picture, either in it's script, it's acting or it's direction.
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Kramer vs. ...
kosmasp29 September 2009
It's really surprising (for me) to read, that Kramers (director/writer) previous efforts as a writer, were Mindhunters and Running Scared (which he also directed). Both movies, that are more in the action genre and wouldn't really leave with the feeling that the guy who made those movies, could/would be able to make a drama, that can be compared to Traffic and Crash.

Even if you don't feel it lives up to those two (which I feel too), it's still a pretty good movie. You have great actors and there is no holding back any punches. At times it gets really political (and how couldn't it go that way), although sometimes you'd wish even more involvement or that he would shed more light into some segments ... but then again, the movie might have felt too long if he did.

As it is, this is a rock solid drama, about migration (immigration) and many other things in the US.
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Better than crash, but not for the weak minded.
fallguy_jack24 May 2009
This movie makes crash seem like over-dramatized sensationalism. Crossing Over has a powerhouse cast portraying a far more realistic depiction of attitudes and perspectives in contemporary America. The only reason I didn't give it a 10 is because towards the end one plot stream takes a Hollywood twist, which while not especially relevant, detracts from the gritty realism of the movie.

A lot of people have trouble with portrayals of perspectives which challenge the psychological defense mechanisms we put in place to allow us to filter reality into something easier for us to live with. If we really look at things for what they are, the world is a very scary place. This is why you will notice that people get disproportionately agitated when you challenge these mental constructs, leading to loud and/or ignorant opinions. <--also well portrayed at times in the film.

I thought about using smaller words for those weak minded loud mouths, but they probably didn't read this far and I've learned, to my dismay, that all I can do is dismiss their stupidity/cowardice anyways.

If you can see past what mass media shoves down your throat, you will thoroughly appreciate this movie, I guarantee it :)
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An Under-appreciated Movie
www.ramascreen.com8 March 2009
Warning: Spoilers
CROSSING OVER is probably one of the most powerful, heart wrenching immigrant stories out there. Some have accused this of taking the concept of Crash and just injecting it with immigrant issues. Be that as it may, even the concept of… Crash wasn't completely all that original but both movies are well-crafted and well-executed. The interconnected characters and plots will leave you to ask questions about the meaning of liberty and what America used to stand for.

The movie depends on its all stellar cast led by Harrison Ford in his most unusual role ever, none of his typical saving-his-family from terrorists, in fact, his character in CROSSING OVER is a loner who wonders whether his job as ICE agent is the right thing to do, he's haunted by the implications and the impact of what he does for a living on those who just want to come here for a better life and angered by those who take advantage of the freedom bestowed upon them. After 9/11 happened, the rules of the game have changed and Ford, in a way, is like that aching voice bugging us to rethink whether enforcing homeland security at the expense of a few good immigrants can be justified.

All the rest of the supporting actors are outstanding in their performances, Jim Sturgess plays a guy who sticks to his principles to get a green card while his girlfriend is willing to sell her body for it. Ray Liotta and Ashley Judd play a married couple and yet they're on two different teams, one takes advantage of the newcomers while the other tries to save them. But the most controversial is probably the issue of freedom of speech presented by writer/director Wayne Kramer in this movie. Once again, it's the question of homeland security at the expense of freedom can be justified or not, it's a bit of a criticism against Patriot Act. But isn't freedom of speech comes with limits? Because if it's without boundaries, then anarchy and division are what would happen.

Wayne Kramer does a good job in making sure not only each plot would flow well with each other as they overlap within a decent running time but he also tackles only the most imperative complexities without wasting time in taking unnecessary shots or moments. I love the story because it punishes those who take freedom for granted and rewards those who cherish it. In the case of that schoolgirl, played by Summer Bishil, it's still arguable.. is she an example of someone who abuses freedom of speech or is she a victim of persecution?

I wasn't a big fan of Wayne Kramer's previous works which include Running Scared and Mindhunters, but CROSSING OVER is a whole nother result, he finally understands what he needs to do to come up with a good story, not simply trying to confuse or depress you. One last note, actor Cliff Curtis gives an Oscar worthy performance as Harrison Ford's partner in this movie, too bad Curtis will be overlooked and this movie will remain as one of this year's under-appreciated. Has America forgotten that it was once a land of immigrants?

--Rama's SCREEN--
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Captivating drama
Gordon-117 August 2009
This film looks at the experiences of five individuals, who crosses path with an Immigration officer.

"Crossing Over" is more than I expected. It tells so many forgotten stories that are worthy of mention, because of their desire to strive for a better life. This type of film is always in danger of stereotyping or misrepresenting minority groups in a negative way, but in "Crossing Over" there is no such problems as the characters are skilfully presented. I particularly like the imagery of motorway junctions shown several times in this film. It parallels the characters in the film, making decisions to turn one way or another, and the amount of traffic that passes through borders.

It also brings out many points for discussion. What would you sacrifice to become an American citizen? What choices would you make, no matter how hard and painful they are, to make a dream come true?
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I'm not on the fence: the critics are idiots
Jawsphobia17 March 2009
Apart from the usual movie-movie technology of enhancing a license plate from grainy dots to sharp numbers, I had nothing against this movie. I strongly disagree with the apparent consensus and the low tomatometer rating. Crossing Over is an emotional film, and makes points that will be unpopular. The film creates empathy for someone we at first shrink from, namely the 15 year old Bangali girl who inflames her classmates on the topic of 9/11. She had forgotten what happened to Bill Maher. Meanwhile Harrison Ford's character Max Brogan gets razzed for any show of empathy or concern for the people is team have to process through immigration. He puts a weathered human face on a job that must be unpleasant. We understand when that climate - peer pressure - causes him to stop short of helping someone in a timely fashion, and Ford is very watchable doing the most mundane things as he confronts the consequences of compromise. I don't feel connections between the characters are implausible. It gives unity to the overall comment on community and who should be included and who should not.
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Riley"s Review: Crossing Over
rileye-wilson3 July 2009
Upon looking at the cover of the DVD case, I was quite skeptical about how good this movie really is. It seemed like it would be sub-par because of the fact that Blockbuster sponsored its release to DVD. Also, the fact that Crossing Over is a lame and cliché title for a immigration movie added more reasons to my skepticism.

Anyways, I popped the DVD in. Harrison Ford playing his usual role, a law enforcement/cop/detective actually gave a good performance. I am a big fan of the character of Amid in this film. His emotions were real and his performance during the hold-up scene in the Korean Convenience store was suspenseful and emotional.

I felt some connections to Crash; with all the interconnectedness between the characters. Despite the cool and intriguing effect of the relationships between the characters, it still wasn't amazing as Crash's.

If I had to pick a scene, no doubt would I choose the Koreantown convenient store scene. One of the best I have seen.

I am shocked that this movie was on limited release. If you want to explore a new topic in illegal immigration, with good performances and recognizable actors then this movie is definitely worth the rent. The overall message of this movie is pro-immigration, but it is an interesting and emotional ride to catch a glimpse of the hard and sacrificial life of an immigrant.
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The Many Faces of the Immigration Issue
gradyharp14 June 2009
Though there have been many films about the horrors faced by illegal immigrants attempting to get into or stay in the US, few films have addressed the issues on both sides of the table as well as CROSSING OVER. This film probably did not do very well in theatrical release because of the very difficult subject matter with which it confronts the audience: few people who go to the movies to escape the realities of life outside elect to be disturbed. CROSSING OVER, as written and directed by Wayne Kramer, forces us to learn just how treacherous the matter of immigration is on every level - from the border incidents, to document fraud, to worksite enforcement/raiding, to the concept of asylum, to naturalization, the green card process, the problematic office of counter terrorism, and finally to the basic cultural clashes that pit compassionate law officers against red neck raider type officers. To absorb the intricately woven aspects of the script, a script that addresses immigration issues dealing with Koreans, Africans, Iranians, Australians, Mexicans, and Jewish/atheist Britishers, the audience must pay close attention lest the subtleties are lost in the swirling nonstop drama. Harrison Ford as the compassionate, burned out immigration officer Max Brogan holds the film together as he attempts to make sense of the various irregularities in every aspect of the immigration process. His partner is Iranian American Hamid (a particularly fine performance by Cliff Curtis) who faces family problems with his American born sister and his father who is on the brink of naturalization - one of the many subplots that involves 'honor killing'. Another man Cole Frankel (Ray Liotta is a smarmy role) reveals another view of a 'bad agent' while his wife Denise (Ashley Judd) fights for the rights of an African orphan held for 23 months awaiting sponsorship. A brave Iranian girl Taslima (Summer Bishil) speaks out for the rights of Muslims to be heard and plunges her family into deportation problems. Among the other subplots are stories about a Korean family whose one son (Justin Chon) is forced into gang warfare, an Australian actress (Alice Eve) who must secure her green card through sexual favors with Cole Frankel, a Mexican mother Mireya (Alice Braga) who is captured during a raid at a workplace and befriended by Max Brogan, and young British musician (Jim Sturgess) who must convince authorities of his 'Jewishness' in order to maintain a job that will result in a green card. Each of these stories represents an aspect of our current dysfunctional system management of immigration. The film does not take sides: it merely presents a smattering of the atrocities and imperfectly managed departments of government that together form a system that is chaotic. Of interest, Sean Penn (listed as being in the cast on this page of requested his small role be cut because of the objections of Iranian-American groups over the use of the 'honor killing' subplot. That may indicate how many people may view this film: the story will either anger or disgust some viewers. But what this very well acted and produced and directed film does is provide windows through which we may more closely examine the tragedies of our current immigration system. Perhaps change will occur once people are informed of the injustices. Grady Harp
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Crossed Over Many Times Before
thesar-218 July 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I wasn't the biggest fan of 2005's 'Crash,' and although I did think it was a well made film, it was certainly my second choice for the Best Picture Oscar. Unfortunately, we take a huge leap backwards for the extremely similar 'Crossing Over.' No real performances stood out in 'Over,' as Sandra Bullock's excellent turn in 'Crash.' We have a very old Ford playing his signature person of power doing the absolute right thing, Liotta plays his normal sick-twisted male and Judd's the heroine for all humans! If you think about it, barely a departure was any of these characters, which was why I loved the performance of Bullock in 'Crash.' Gone was her goody-two-shoes role as was Denzel Washington's best performance in 'Training Day.' I would've liked to see some originality in 'Over,' but there was little to none. Sure, some moments were touching, but the overall movie was a mess. Too hard did they try to mimic 'Crash' and it's overlapping 7-8 separate plots, desperately trying to make you feel something for these characters. Basically, we get about 7-8 different sides to the immigration problem and what people would give up or lie about to get citizenship. (Major spoiler ahead.) The worst storyline involved Curtis (in law enforcement) who after losing his sister, gets hammered at a bar, enough to be cut-off, and then proceeds to drive to a liquor store to get more alcohol all the while plot #4 "crosses over" involving young Asians bent on robbing the said store. So, completely drunk Curtis fires, kills all but one he allows free so he can attend his citizenship ceremony the following day. Not once did any of the other police question Curtis's BAC, or how he got there, or the blatant evidence one bad guy was missing.
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self-indulgent patriotic propaganda
beregic11 June 2009
first things first; to me it seems that this movie only attempts to cash in on the success that "crash" has had 2-3 years back.

on the surface the feature has some good performances(the boring professional sort if you ask me) and 1 good scene( Cliff Curtis -the supermarket) but everything else is a cliché, and of the worst kind; trying hard to please the American viewer as in how he would LIKE to FEEL(in general) but not how the reality IS; this aspect would be OK but as part in the "fiction" category, and not as advertised - "realistic" drama"...

the dialogs come out straight from the government public relations department. the subliminal patriotic message is promoted in almost EVERY scene in a direct or indirect manner. some tear-jerking scenes for effect and "compassion" but which in a very offensive manner promote exactly the OPPOSITE in how the viewer should asses the reality...

also what really upsets me is how LITTLE the screenwriters actually do NOT know about immigrants.for starters there is an ABSURD out-of-date interpretations as in why people come to America this days. the immigrants are seen as "sheeps" and the "true" Americans as very sensible people even when in the wrong.

in a sentence - this plot attempts to influence the American public that they have it much much better then the rest of the world and keep them content.

to be frank, i would have preferred to watch "crash" all over again instead of this. at least that director has lived WITH immigrants for so long and he did have some things to point out unlike this brainwashing parody of a "drama".
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Way too biased
dmford24 July 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I'm 100% opposed to illegal immigration and have no sympathy whatsoever for anyone who puts himself or herself above our nation's laws. Therefore I found this movie so totally biased in favor of illegals and their gaming of the system that I could barely sit through it.

When the Australian girl was giving the desk clerk a hard time even though the girl didn't have any receipts, I thought, "Just deport her now!" Life is all about choices, and if you make bad choices, don't expect sympathy! It's too bad when kids are caught up in their parents' bad choices but that's the parents' fault, not the fault of the U.S. The Moslem parents should have thought ahead of time about the potential effects their illegal actions could have on their kids. And how idiotic does a person have to be to make a speech in support of the 9/11 hijackers?!

Whether a person comes to this country to be a model, to work in a factory, or to teach in a Jewish school, that person has the responsibility to think first about the laws of the country he or she is going to and what steps must be taken to proceed in accordance with those laws. This movie tries to make all the illegals seem like poor, downtrodden or disadvantaged foreigners who "just want a better life." Where's the part about taking responsibility for one's actions?

And the whole bleeding-heart subplot about an attorney wanting to adopt a child that her spouse has never met and has no interest in is absurd. Who would do that?

I agree with those who have said that it's another liberal Hollywood social-engineering "feel good" film...the kind that makes the rest of us feel even more disgusted with illegals than we already do.
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Human to Human - Movie to remind that across boundaries we are still human to human
It is all about what you feel rather than what you think. If you are such a person then this movie is for you. There is just one thing that stands out and differentiates birth and death and that is 'feeling'. This movie stages that. It searches for the humane thing that is inside you and speaks with it. It makes one wonder as what on Earth have we done to ourselves. Fences separating souls for the mere possibility of opportunities and barbed wires guarding the land which is no different to what it is guarding from. Seeing through the distorted glass of paranoia...yes...this is what the movie talks about. Exceptional performances and down to earth language, this movie really questions the human being, if at there is a being in humans.
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I didn't like it
vesser20002 August 2009
I really don't believe this film helps immigrants in any way!

An Australian woman who becomes a prostitute in order to get her visa?

A Muslim girl who is trying to understand the terrorist point of view? It is like someone telling you that Hitler had his reasons too.

An Asian guy who doesn't like America at all and help a bunch of crazy people robbing a store killing everyone like Terminator.

The Arabian family that kill one of their own because they feel shame of their own relative.

This is crazy, if this represent immigrants like me, then I would prefer no representation at all because these characters seem to have been out from a horror house.

I didn't like the film and I really believe that instead of help immigrants, it will cause more problems to immigrants.

The only real immigrant character I felt empathy was the Mexican woman, she was the only one who really represents immigrants in this country.
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It's like "Crash" for stupid people!
kingbad24 June 2009
"Crossing Over" is an exploitative, cliché-filled, wannabe "topical" movie that's basically lifted from "Crash" (with elements of "Babel" and "Grand Canyon", two MUCH better movies, thrown in.) It manages to combine the horribly aged faces of Harrison Ford, Ray Liotta, and Ashley Judd (all of whom clearly had boat payments to make) with the usually fine Cliff Curtis and a supporting cast of "who-dats". Extremely clumsily written and directed with a heavy hand by a hack named Kramer, it throws in enough cheap sex and violence to supposedly appease it's intended audience, without offering anything original to say about America's screwed up immigration system. This movie is actually worse than a four-hour wait at the DMV- and has less to say. Hurry out to Schlockbuster and rent it now!!!
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Sappy and one-sided take on an important issue
CSHaviland1 August 2009
A fairly crappy movie for the most part. I frankly have very little interest in placing illegal immigration under a magnifying glass if the point is to show that it's those who enforce it who are in the wrong, because apparently none of them "care" about the emotional well-being of these law-breakers. My wife was an immigrant, and she entered the country very legally. It was an easy process. She worked in an immigration office as a paralegal after that because she became good at understanding the law and how to advise others with their paperwork issues (which can get pretty messed up).

If people have a problem with immigration law as it is, then work on changing the laws, not on breaking them. We make the laws. We can change the laws by voting for politicians who can make a difference.

I just think this sappy movie turns a blind eye on the consequences for allowing illegal immigrants to live and work here, and focuses entirely on the consequences for them getting caught by the authorities. Didn't work for me.
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Crossing Over Movie Review from The Massie Twins
GoneWithTheTwins20 March 2009
Crossing Over is a jumbled mix of stories and ideas - like Crash, Babel, Fast Food Nation and even bits of Gran Torino piled together. There's a powerful underlying theme of inequality, the boundaries of freedom of speech and the inescapable abuse of power, but the major viewpoints are forcibly shoved down our throats. The general public will most likely misinterpret the motif of being open-minded (to religion, citizenship, naturalization and hopes of opportunity) with bitter anti-Americanism, which will prevent sympathy for almost everyone in the film. It's a difficult concept to ingest, especially when presented nearly hostilely. Crossing Over is a film that will ultimately struggle to find an audience.

Max Brogan (Harrison Ford) is an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent (ICE) with a dangerous flaw - he has a heart and sympathy for the very people he must track down and deport. His partner, Iranian-American Hamid (Cliff Curtis) awaits his father's naturalization ceremony and appears dedicated to his job only to prove to his family how important it is to be American. As the duo runs routine busts on illegal immigrants, several other stories are revealed - a defense lawyer (Ashley Judd) negotiates for a new family for an orphaned child and must also orchestrate the deportation method of a family whose 15-year old daughter is accused of having ties to terrorism; a young Jewish man (Jim Sturgess) tries to use his unpracticed religion to secure a job; and Cole Frankel (Ray Liotta) uses his position as a green card approval supervisor to force a beautiful Australian model (Alice Eve) into some compromising positions.

The film begs us to be sympathetic with several groups of people, all who have broken the law. Some of the offenses are easier to understand, to rationalize, but most derive little real accord - each case is preceded and surrounded by corruption and gross misuse of power, but condoning any of the actual crimes is never fully justified. It's apparent that bad decisions and uneducated choices are the cause for most of the predicaments. If only fate had somehow intervened, perhaps that would allow for more compassion. And Frankel, who deserves the least amount of clemency, gets an odd and wholly unnecessary moment of remorse - one that does little to alter his fate.

Crossing Over is political and thought-provoking, but also muddled by the ICE lingo and green card terms and the overabundance of characters. Its failure lies in the multiple interweaving story lines that could have been reduced to one or two. Hiding behind jobs, makeup and religious ties sums up the not too complex personalities and the murder-mystery portion is evident from the start. The struggles of United States citizenship, the impossibility of equality, the undeniable corruption of those in power, and the tragedy heaped on to the point of comedy are all noble attempts at a moving premise, but an utter nosedive in the direction of entertainment. The film befittingly concludes on a note of how great America really is, while flashing back to human heads exploding under point blank gunfire.

  • The Massie Twins
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Irresponsible film-making on the urgent topic of immigration- completely disregards all negative aspects of immigrants.
dilbertsuperman14 October 2009
I officially pan this movie for being what it is- propaganda crap to make you feel sorry for illegal immigrants with heavy handed drama and completely ignoring such things as the gang 13, their abuse of our hospitals and insurance, etc.. in this movie all immigrants are sweethearts and the only time they do something wrong is if they are pressured into a bad decision. It's very dangerous to be confusing American citizens into thinking we can afford illegal immigration any longer, and this movie is an obvious propaganda ploy to destroy American citizenship and its value by gunning for open borders.

If you completely ignore what a dangerous piece of trash propaganda this is, it's a decent movie with some nice skin here and there and some OK acting, but it's a Trojan horse movie. Entertainment with a poison pill of deceit and distortion on a topic too serious to pretend we can be soft on any longer if we are to survive as a country.

PLOT: Harrison Ford is part of ICE (La Migra) illegal immigrant control, he is conflicted by his role when he sees the damage deportation does to illegals, while we TOTALLY ignore the damage illegals do to the country. His sadness revolves around a pretty mother of one that he has to deport who then goes missing and he feels guilty.
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What a sick movie
YokiYoki10 May 2010
The moment I heard that girl defend the 9/11 terrorists, I couldn't take this f****ng movie serious, nobody in their right minds can defend somebody that kills knowingly 3,000 innocent civilians, you may defend them driving in a plane in the pentagon to make their voice heard-but an EMPTY plane-not full of innocent passengers-an empty plane in an empty twin towers in middle the night-no there's no justification to target civilians even to get your f****ng voice heard, if you'd pay me a million dollars I wouldn't let my kid play that ugly part, I can't believe Harrison Ford would act in this, this writer can probably understand blowing up a school full of innocent children in Serbia (or wherever that happened)so voices be heard, I pray to god that this doesn't portray the mindset of the average Muslim in the US otherwise we're deeply in trouble!!! Also, how can you compare this to "CRASH" which is a gem and doesn't try to get your solidarity with people doing thing the illegal way, crossed over borders illegally, how painful it is, and this movie shows just how painful it can be, I have no place in my heart for THIS PAIN! my grandparents struggled to come here legally, my friends came here legally, everybody can come here legally, and people should know if they will come here illegally they will suffer! what sick plot this is, showing how every other guy is deceiving the government and getting citizenship thru lies!! no wonder this made so little money, looks like people still know what's good and what's bad.

From Wikipedia:

It was given a limited theatrical release on February 27, 2009. It ultimately grossed less than half a million dollars in North America, and just over $2.5 million internationally for a total of $3 million. The film has reportedly made another $1.7 million in US DVD sales.

Ha ha....
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wish it was over ...sooner... zzzzzz
Ladan-316 May 2010
I picked Crossing Over from DVD shop - because I liked Harrison Ford - because the description at the back said it was exciting, gripping and "race against time" ... made it sound as if Harrison Ford was racing against corrupt officials to save some poor immigrants wrongfully accused, etc etc. or that someone was framed and Harrison Ford was trying to save them in a "race against time" thriller!! thrilling, action, adventure, intelligent, gripping!! .. was what I was expecting... Harrison Ford couldn't have asked for more time.... It was so slooooow, I did what I hadn't done since Kevin Costner's "Water world" .. fast forwarded... oh, it was mind numbing ZZZZ boring! Despite fast forwarding so many times, never missed the plot and relieved when I got to the credits. Never mind the lack of adventure and thrill, the cultural references woefully wrong, plots all predictable and oh, the good looking young man with guitar gets away with it. ....because that's OK. The Mexican mother was not OK. She got eaten by a Kyotee.
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BABEL mixed with CRASH
george.schmidt18 March 2009
Warning: Spoilers
CROSSING OVER (2009) **1/2 Harrison Ford, Ray Liotta, Ashley Judd, Jim Sturgess, Cliff Curtis, Summer Bishil, Alice Braga , Alice Eve. A mix of "Babel" and "Crash" in the culture clash study of immigration in the US with a decent ensemble with some nice work by Ford as an aging fed who tries to find the humanity in his soul-crushing work; Curtis as his partner who has a memorable speech in a convenience store hold-up; and especially Bishil as an opinionated student whose speech at school land her in hot water. Filmmaker Wayne Kramer walks an uneven balance of the political and social upheavals in this well-acted drama in this post-9/11 treatise on the melting pot of America.
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A movie that makes you think!
williamzim200027 February 2009
And the first thought I had was, why did I pay $11.50 to see this tripe? The second thought was, how do I get my money back??? This is a multiple plot situation, with the intertwined lives of a number of people trying to get green cards so they can stay in the USA. It follows their tribulations during this waiting period. Frankly, that's not much of a story. While the material gravitates towards sympathy for people who have to go through a legal process to become Americans, it's really about how they all try to skirt the system so they can get in without paying their dues. The story makes it out like we're unfair for putting them through some hurdles, or about being cautious about who we do or don't let in. Some scenes are so laden with preachy dialog they were painful to listen to. To that end, some of the scenes were outright foolish. There didn't seem to be a point to all of this, no moral truth unveiled at the end of the film, no insight we all gained while watching this. I was really wondering, what was the point the author was trying to make? That people who are here illegally can get caught and sent back? I'm supposed to view that as a social crisis? What it all boils down to is one big question: how do I get back the two hours I wasted on this?
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Mediocre and boring
Argemaluco16 January 2010
It is not a good augury to examine the tortuous road the film Crossing Over followed until its release.Originally made as a 2 and a half hour movie, Crossing Over was kept "in the shelves" for almost 2 years, while director and screenwriter Wayne Kramer was fighting to preserve his vision; he eventually had to bow himself and accept to edit it into a 113 minutes movie in order to avoid a straight-to-DVD release.And even like that, it only enjoyed a ride on art-house cinemas and film festivals, where it did not receive a very good answer before being exported to the rest of the world, where it was released in cinemas on some countries and straight-to-DVD on other ones (like mine).Unfortunately, the bad augury is justified...Crossing Over is a mediocre and tedious movie.

I must be alone on this, but I liked the film Crash (2004) very much; I understand why its message and its characters upset to some people, but I liked the performances, the tone and the ingenious way in which co-screenwriters Paul Haggis and Robert Moresco took the structure of "intercconected stories" to bring it a fresh and dynamic twist.I mentioned all that because Crossing Over is basically Crash, but without that energy and dynamism.Its didactic intention is irritating and all the characters are a living cliché.

Maybe, Kramer should have left his movie untouchable, instead of submitting himself to the whims from a distributor.I do not know if Crossing Over would have been better with 40 additional minutes, but I consider Kramer to be a great director who made very solid work in the past and, because of that, I will give him the benefit of the doubt.

The screenplay from this film has many important fails, since there are too many trembling and instructive conversations; sudden changes of attitude; stupid reactions; too many improbable coincidences; and finally, the narrative structure is badly distributed.

Nevertheless, I cannot deny the performances from this film are very solid.Summer Bishil and Jacquline Obradors are perfect on their roles; Harrison Ford brings his best performance in many years; Ray Liotta brings good intensity to his role; and Ashley Judd is also credible.

However, Crossing Over is a boring and uninteresting movie, which I would put on the same level of a melodramatic soap-opera.Nonetheless, I keep having faith on Kramer's future projects, since his previous work warrants a second chance.
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