Crossing Over

Sean Penn's role in this bloated ensemble drama was cut – presumably to pare down the running time. The Oscar winner should thank his lucky stars he's not featured in this overwrought mess. It's heavy handed and laughable in parts. Despite the ineptitude of the dialogue however, the cast give their all and deserve full marks for effort in these intertwined stories dealing with illegal imnmigration in the US

Ford is the aged Customs Enforcement Officer looking after the son of a beleaguered young Mexican (Braga). His colleague (Curtis) is experiencing family problems of his own, particularly in relation to his younger sister (Khazae) who has embraced a decadent lifestyle in his eyes. Eve plays an Antipodean actress desperate for a green card who reluctantly aquiesces to regular sex sessions with Liotta, a visa applications clerk, in order to gain one. His lawyer wife (Judd) is keen to adopt a deprived African American child and tries to defend plucky Bangladeshi student Bishil who could be deported for sympathising with Al-Queda. Sturgess pretends to be Jewish in order to gain US status as a teacher.

The tales depicted fail to gain momentum and one is never engrossed. The result is a hodgepodge of cliches. In one scene, Curtis foils a supermarket raid by a Korean gang, shooting dead four of the culprits. He then spouts moralistic platitudes at the surviving criminal, letting him get away before the police turn up. A totally implausible scenario. Much of the movie embodies this hamfisted approach. It's a worthy effort that totally misses the mark. Dire.    

Crossing Over at IMDb

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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