Crossing Over (film)

Crossing Over (film)
Crossing Over

Promotional film poster
Directed by Wayne Kramer
Produced by Wayne Kramer
Frank Marshall
Written by Wayne Kramer
Starring Harrison Ford
Ray Liotta
Ashley Judd
Music by Mark Isham
Cinematography James Whitaker
Editing by Arthur Coburn
Studio Kennedy/Marshall
Distributed by The Weinstein Company
Release date(s) February 27, 2009 (2009-02-27)
Running time 113 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $3,030,259

Crossing Over is a 2009 American independent drama film about illegal immigrants of different nationalities struggling to achieve legal status in Los Angeles. The film deals with the border, document fraud, the asylum and green card process, work-site enforcement, naturalization, the office of counter-terrorism and the clash of cultures. Crossing Over was written and directed by Wayne Kramer, himself an immigrant from South Africa, and is a remake of his 1995 short film of the same name. Kramer produced the film alongside Frank Marshall.[1]

Crossing Over was filmed on location in Los Angeles in 2007.



There are several stories interwoven throughout the movie. For simplicity, they are separated out in this description, each with its own paragraph.

After immigrant Mireya Sanchez is deported, immigration officer Max Brogan takes care of her little son, and brings him to the boy's grandparents in Mexico. Later the woman is found dead near the border. Brogan returns to the grandparents to tell them the bad news.

Taslima Jahangir, a 15-year-old girl from Bangladesh, presents a paper at school promoting that people should try to understand the 9/11 hijackers. The school principal reports this to authorities. FBI agents raid the home and ransack her room, reading her diaries and a school assignment on the ethics of suicide, criticizing her room as "too austere" and noting that she has an account on an Islamic website. The profiler says this makes her look like a would-be suicide bomber. She is not charged for this, but it turns out that she has only resident status. She was born in Bangladesh and brought to America at age three. Her father is studying for the citizenship test and Taslima's continued presence jeopardizes his chances and puts the two younger siblings at risk. The young kids are U.S. citizens because they were born in the U.S. Denise Frankel, the immigration defense attorney, suggests that instead of the whole family being deported, Taslima can leave for Bangladesh with her mother while the rest of the family stays in the US.

Cole Frankel, an immigration officer, gets into a car accident with Claire Shepard, an aspiring actress from Australia. Realizing that she is in the country illegally, Cole makes an arrangement with Claire where she will have unlimited sex with him for two months in exchange for a green card. When Cole eventually says he wants to leave his wife for Claire, she makes it clear that she holds him in contempt and is only sleeping with him for the green card. In a moment of clarity, Cole exempts Claire from completing the two months and arranges for Claire to get her green card in the mail. Authorities eventually confront Claire about the suspiciousness in her immigration paperwork and she admits to the sexual arrangement she had with Cole. She leaves the country "voluntarily." Cole is arrested. His wife Denise Frankel adopts a little girl from Nigeria, who has already been in the detention center for several years.

Brogan has an Iranian colleague, Hamid Baraheri. Hamid's family disapproves of his sister having sex with Javier Pedroza, a married man. Encouraged by his father, Hamid's brother plans to scare the couple, but things get out of hand and he shoots both of them and goes to Hamid who helps him hide the evidence. Brogan slowly suspects Hamid's involvement as the film progresses.

Also, Javier Pedroza works in a copy shop and made extra money by providing counterfeit immigration papers for undocumenteds. Claire had previously paid him for false papers before she had made her arrangement with Cole. But when Javier was killed, the authorities discovered her documents among his belongings which is what caused immigration to examine her case more closely.

South Korean teenager Yong Kim is about to be naturalized with the rest of his family, but he has started to hang out with a bad crowd and ultimately participates in a convenience store robbery to "pop his cherry" with his gang. Hamid happens to be at the same convenience store and kills the other robbers but (due to his own guilt over his involvement in his sister's death) lets Yong Kim go free.

Gavin Kossef, a Jewish musician (really an atheist) from the United Kingdom pretends to be a religious Jew in order to get a job at a Jewish school, which allows him to stay in the U.S. In a test where he has to demonstrate his familiarity with the Jewish religion he does not perform properly, but a rabbi asked to assess it approves it because of his voice. After the test, in private, the rabbi requires from the immigrant to take lessons from him to eliminate the deficiencies in his knowledge.


Production and distribution

The film originally featured a scene in which an Iranian character is murdered by her brother in an honor killing, but the National Iranian American Council opposed the plotline as being unrealistic and offensive, and the killing was presented as a beating-up which got out of hand, removing the dialogue referring to "honor" and "family honor".[2][3]

Additionally, Sean Penn filmed scenes as an immigration cop. However, his scenes were cut due to the controversy over the honor killing plot, though producer Harvey Weinstein later claimed that Penn's agent requested his scenes be cut out of the film.[4][5]

Though the film was shot in 2007, it was not released until 2009, and even then only in a limited theatrical run. The film's original running length was 140 minutes long, but this film's producer (who had final cut privilege) was convinced to edit the film down to under 2 hours when Harvey Weinstein threatened to release the film straight to DVD and bypass a theatrical release altogether (in many countries outside of the US, this was the case anyway).[6]

The film was distributed in the United States by MGM and The Weinstein Company. It was given a limited theatrical release on February 27, 2009. It ultimately grossed less than half a million dollars in North America, and just over $2.5 million internationally for a total of $3 million. The film has reportedly made another $1.7 million in US DVD sales.[7]


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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