An ensemble cast -- including Harrison Ford and Ashley Judd -- stars in this L.A.-set drama that examines the issues surrounding immigration.
Harrison Ford, Ashley Judd, Alice Braga, Ray Liotta, Jim Sturgess
Wayne Kramer's "Crossing Over" is the kind of movie that gives Hollywood liberalism a bad name. The multi-linear story involving illegal immigrants clearly takes its structural cue from such similarly tangled roundelays as "Crash" and "Babel." But the cinematic comparisons don't end there. As "Crossing Over" makes its patronizing points, by way of two-dimensional characters and billboarded plot points, it recalls other, better movies that dealt with the same subjects far more deftly.
Harrison Ford plays Max Brogan, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent under whose gruff, scarred exterior beats a bleeding heart of gold. When he arrests an illegal garment worker, she begs him to take care of her young son, an encounter that sends him on a journey of -- what else? -- personal redemption. Ray Liotta, Ashley Judd and Jim Sturgess also appear, as an immigration official, a lawyer and a musician on the prowl for a green card, respectively. The story lines and characters are too numerous to mention, but rest assured they all cross paths in sundry contrived ways. The dialogue is so stilted you can hear the keystrokes behind every word.
At once didactic and exploitative (Kramer makes lurid use of explosive sex and violence), "Crossing Over" isn't just offensive, it's redundant. The themes of tradition, assimilation, post-9/11 paranoia, bureaucratic injustice and inter-cultural tension have been portrayed more authentically in such recent films as "Under the Same Moon," "Persepolis," "The Visitor" and "Gran Torino."
-- Ann Hornaday (March 13, 2009)
Contains pervasive profanity, strong violence, sexuality and nudity.