“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, with conquering limbs astride from land to land; Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand a mighty woman with a torch, whose flame is the imprisoned lightning, and her name: Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command the air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame . ‘Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!’ cries she with silent lips. Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
The inscription above can be found inside the pedestal of The Statue Of Liberty, and while it’s not actually printed where most depictions appear to suggest, it has become somewhat of a motto for this country. I certainly have a warm spot in my own heart for this welcoming attitude to immigrants from around the world. I am a product of Italian grandparents who made the journey here in the 1930’s for a better life. But that ideal has been somewhat abused as of late. Those brave ancestors that many of us can be thankful for our American life did so at great personal sacrifice. Without ever giving up their individual cultures, beliefs, and lifestyles, they did manage to blend into the American landscape and took pride in both heritages. They did not demand that America coddle them. They never imposed their language on the already present society. They practiced their beliefs and traditions without requiring others to accommodate them. They worked hard so that their descendents might not have to labor so much. In so many ways they became models not only for their descendants, but for what good citizenship means. They cherished this new country.
Today all of that has changed, and Crossing Over points out why. We are made to feel guilty as Americans for not accepting the flood of illegal immigration with grace and open hearts. We’re made to feel bad when we can’t understand Spanish or are unable to participate in some cultural tradition or another. Immigration has built this nation and will continue to allow it to evolve and grow stronger. Still, there is a necessity that this immigration be organized, controlled, and legal.
Crossing Over wasn’t exactly a direct to video release, but it might as well have been. It played in less than 50 screens and grossed under a half million bucks. It doesn’t really tell one story. Instead we are exposed to the lives of several illegal immigrants and their problems. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to feel sorry for any of them. One Australian actress sleeps with an immigration green card processor to get her card. A Muslim girl delivers a speech to her classmates expressing sympathy and understanding for the 9/11 terrorists. Then she doesn’t understand that her status is discovered and she’s exported. We’re told how horrible the conditions are she’s being asked to return to. Yet she doesn’t appear to have a lot of respect for the nation and its people who have sheltered her from such tyranny. A Jewish immigrant hasn’t had much use for his own religion or culture until he discovers that he can use it to try and gain residency in The United States. The film bleeds for these people in a way to which I simply could not relate. Harrison Ford plays a border agent who has far too much sympathy for the hard cases. His own partner is a legal immigrant who has a sister turn up dead because she failed to live up to the ways her family brought to America with her. Ford phones this one in and appears to have none of his usual flair going here at all. In the end this is a mixed up collection of stories seeking sympathy while finding fault with the very country that offers these people so much hope and promise. It’s an ironic and interesting juxtaposition of characteristics. The best part of the film is the depiction of the many immigrants who did things the right way, attending their oath of citizenship. Now that’s an inspiring moment. Too bad the filmmakers chose to talk over the ceremony with some unnecessary drama in the stands.
Crossing Over is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. The image is pretty natural looking. There are moments were it appears over-lit, but it’s all part of a very confusing style. The movie works best in controlled lighting. There flesh tones are reference and colors are very realistic. Black levels are pretty much average.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 delivers dialog. That’s pretty much all this film is about.
There was a lot of press involving the infighting during this film’s production. The lack of cohesiveness among the cast and crew is painfully obvious here. No one appears to be getting into their parts, and it’s like everyone pretty much decided the film was going nowhere before they even finished. It’s almost like they were all sleepwalking throughout the entire affair. You might as well catch a few Z’s yourself. “You’re not going to miss anything.”