Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Crossing Over - Movie Review

Watched 'Crossing Over' on television this afternoon. Harrison Ford plays a cop who has the job of finding illegal or out-of-status immigrants in the USA. He is a soft hearted cop and does his bit to help even going out of his way - and for the first time Ford looks old, but remains as charming as ever. The movie has six or seven tracks, all of which kind of meet at some point. There is Harrison Ford and his partner Hamid., an Irani by birth but a naturalised and proud American now. There is Ford and the illegal Mexican immigrant girl who is deported even though she tries to tell the authorities about her little child in day care. There is Hamid's father who is awaiting his citizenship and his brother, an arrogant attorney, and their ideas about family honour specially concerning their liberated sister. There is the Chinese immigrant family with a deviant son who are close to getting their citizenship they had all worked so hard for. There is the Australian actor who comes on a tourist visa but is seeking work in theatre and tv and gets trapped by a lusty immigration officer. There is the immigration attorney who is trying to find a home for a little African girl who has no home and no parents. There is her British/Irish? boyfriend who is a Jew, an atheist and a singer and there is a Bangladeshi/Indian family who is out of status but has a daughter who has rather radical ideas on 9/11. (Does that make it eight tracks?)

With so many stories of human drama moving simultaneously the movie has more than enough content to make it so gripping that you can't miss one scene. And since they are all stories of hope, of dreams that come true and of dreams that are dashed, there is more than enough drama, which the director chose not to milk. He instead tells the story dispassionately and you watch and absorb and comprehend. It's everyone's story at some level because it is basically about the hope of better life and what we are willing to do for it.

All the immigrants-to-be try to stick nay latch on to their big dream of being absorbed in the USA and living a life of comfort. And the cost they are willing to pay is simply stupendous. Families are torn apart, lives are lost, self-respect is lost, marriages are broken, honour is lost, freedom is lost - but still they cringe, beg, run and crawl. Obviously there are stories much more heart rending than the ones shown in the movie but it only underlines the madness that comes over one at the thought that somehow lives can get better for them and their families if they can cross over - somehow. There is a dialogue where the immigrant attorney shouts in anger at the authorities that they are sending back a young girl to a garbage dump in the third world or something to that effect as she tries to save her from being deported.

It may be a garbage dump but it is still their dump. It is still a place where one can live with self respect, dignity and honour just as millions of others are. It is still a place where you can make your life among the ones who you are born with. It has the same sky, the same air, the same water and one can make their paradise here - if only they wish to. It is all in their minds. One can understand going to a foreign country to get exposure, a better life even. But at what cost? Why go to any place where one is not welcome, where one is viewed with suspicion. Go there, when they welcome you openly, when they have no more fear, but only love to give. Go there so you can add to your dignity, to your self-respect and esteem. Not when you are treated like a rabid dog.

There are opportunities if one looks hard enough, wherever one is. 'Crossing Over' throws up several arguments and viewpoints and also presents everybody's case well. Definitely worth a watch for anyone who is contemplating crossing over or just for watching a good movie on the human struggle for betterment!

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