Director Wayne Kramer uses several interlinked stories to tell the stories of people with foreign passports, who are trying to realize their dream of legalizing their status in the US. The movie’s style reminds of “L.A. Crash” by Paul Haggis, since it is also set in L.A. and has a similar structure, the difference being that it replaces the subject of racism with the difficulties of US immigration policy. Director Wayne Kramer knows what he’s talking about. South-African by birth, he lived in the US for years fighting to acquire American citizenship, until finally obtaining it in 2000.
In several episodes, using a steady narrative flow, Wayne Kramer tells about not only the everyday work of aging, scrupulous Special Agent Max, played by Harrison Ford, but also about the lives of several immigrants: a Korean boy who is supposed to become an American citizen, but then falls in with the wrong crowd; a young Muslim girl who is too understanding about the terrorist attacks of 9/11 in a presentation at school and consequently destroys her family; or an Australian starlet (Alice Eve) who sleeps with a corrupt immigration officer (Ray Liotta) in order to get a green card.
Kramer shows many facets of the subject of immigration without reverting to clichés – each narrative strand is convincing. Just some of the coincidences that link them together are a little weird. Altogether, the strong emphasis on the human aspect robs the film of any potential explosiveness, since the political side of the immigration subject is almost completely left out.
However: With “Crossing Over” Kramer de-romanticizes the beautiful theory of the US as a melting pot. The drama refrains from the usual good vs. evil pattern – and, despite the episodic style, it has a very fluent narrative style.
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